Thankful for Affliction

Things are moving along as well as one could expect in the week before a move, but we have been crazy busy as we at the White house prepare to relocate. Because of this, the series of posts I wanted to write leading up to Thanksgiving has been reduced to one.
This one.

People have accused those of us who get into the Christmas spirit early of completely overlooking Thanksgiving. I suppose that may be a true assumption for some people, but not me. Yes, I start listening to Christmas music and start watching Christmas movies early in November, but I also firmly believe that Thanksgiving should not be ignored.

So many times in the hustle and bustle that is life, we forget to be thankful. It shouldn’t happen, but it does.
This is a day that is set aside, not to eat to a point of bursting, not just to enjoy time with family and loved ones, but a day to be thankful.

Thankful for those we love.
Thankful for what we have.
Thankful for what we don’t have.
Thankful for the One who gives and takes away.
After all, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James‬ ‭1‬:‭17‬)
Everything that makes up this life I love comes from the One to whom all thanksgiving belongs.
Everything.
Even the hard things.

It’s incredibly difficult to be thankful not only in affliction, but for affliction.
At least, it is for me. Perhaps you’re much more spiritual than I am and it comes easier to you.

I’ll be the first to admit that nothing makes me realize the inferiority of my spirituality than affliction.
Give me a day of sunshine and blue skies and I’ll be singing with the best of them… But drop me off in gray skies and rain and I’ll be moaning and moping with the worst of them.
So often, I allow my circumstances to dictate my emotional state.
It’s not one of my better qualities.

In spite of this fact, the Lord has been patiently working on me in this area.
And He’s been using months and months of rainy days to do this.

Although He’s been extremely patient with me, my patience has taken a massive hit. I realized I’m not as “together” as I fancied myself.
It’s not an easy thing to come face to face with reality, especially when it involves seeing yourself for what you really are.
One thing can definitely be said without any reservation: The revelation of our blackness causes the grace of God to shine so much the brighter.

Throughout these months of affliction and rainy days, I’ve found myself growing still.
Settled.
Content.

Oh sure, some days I still want to scream at the clouds and rain to go away, but as a whole, God has shown me the purpose behind it all.

For there to be growth, there must be rain.

One can’t occur without the other.
They walk hand in hand in the form of affliction, leaving their permanent mark on our lives.
Changing us.
Making us weaker, yet stronger at the same time.
Showing us who we are on our own and who we are meant to be in Christ.

Blue skies and happy-go-lucky days are enjoyable, but can’t produce this result alone.
For there to be growth, there must be rain.
And when we find ourselves in affliction, where do we turn to find help?

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” ~‭Psalms‬ ‭121‬:‭1-2‬

“I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.” ~Psalms‬ ‭130‬:‭5‬

“In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.” ~Psalms‬ ‭138‬:‭3‬

“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.” ~Psalms‬ ‭142‬:‭3‬a

*”This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” ~Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭50‬*

The Word of God is powerful enough to reveal to a sinner his lost condition and still comfort a saint in his necessary affliction.

It is necessary, you know.
God expects His children to grow and many times uses afflictions to get us there.
Don’t despise the afflictions of the Father. All things still work together for good to them that love God.
Take this time to read and study His Word and fall more and more in love with the One who will go to any lengths necessary to show His love for you.
Say with the psalmist, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” (‭Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭71‬)

This Thanksgiving, you may find yourself in a place where it’s difficult to be thankful. Circumstances are affecting your emotions and making life hard.
Instead of cursing the rain, let it drive you into the arms of the Savior.
Run to Jesus and soak in his Word.
For there to be growth, there must be rain.

“In everything give thanks.” …even in affliction.

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