Maintaining a thankful heart in the midst of trying times (Week 1)

October 31, 2019

“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– Ephesians 5:20

During the month of November, we celebrate the national holiday, “Thanksgiving.” It’s that time of the year when many Americans set aside a few moments to reflect on the blessings of God. However, somehow, Thanksgiving has lost its spiritual significance today. For some, it is another day off, a time for families to come together and for feasting. In Luke 17:11-19, ten men with a horrible disease came to Jesus seeking help, healing and compassion. Jesus healed all ten of them, but He was troubled inside when only one thought enough to come back and to say thank you. Likewise, God does not always get a lot of thanks and appreciation from us. Every day should be a day of thanksgiving. “Thanksgiving” is another word for gratitude. Gratitude is a natural expression of thanks in response to blessings, protection, or love. I suppose there are some who believe that there’s nothing to be thankful for. Social ills like homelessness, crime, gun and domestic violence, drug addiction, domestic and global terrorism, racial profiling and economic issues continue to threaten our way of life. Even as I write this article, we have yet to solve the problem of our national debt; and we still face struggles that are affecting marriages, our health, our children and family, leaving many to wonder is there anything to be thankful for?

In Plymouth, Massachusetts, the first settlers set aside a day of thanksgiving; yet when you consider their hardships, you realize how easily they could have become bitter. After all, the Pilgrims made seven times more graves than homes in which to live. Nonetheless, they set aside a time of Thanksgiving even amid trying and difficult circumstances.

This month I am dedicating this series to two dear friends, both of whom are dealing with unexpected, life-changing health issues involving their husbands. For the sake of anonymity, I will simply call them “S & D”. One is a fellow church member whose husband suffered a stroke recently; and the other is a co-worker whose husband has been diagnosed with early- onset Alzheimer’s, a complex neurological disease that is the most common form of dementia. Both of these women were the inspiration for this series. While these amazing women are coping with certain lifestyle changes, this column seeks to encourage them — and you, that instead of being bitter, to give God thanks even amid trying times.

Beloved, it is my prayer you will pick up your copy of The Milwaukee Times and share this series with a friend who may need to be reminded during this season of Thanksgiving, that even in the worst of times, we still have a lot to be thankful for. Next week, we will look at why having a thankful and grateful heart during difficult times is so vital.

In the Grip of His Grace,
– Rev. Judith T. Lester,
B.Min., M.Th.
Lovingly Dedicated to “S & D”

Next Week: Continuation

General Disclaimer: The writer has used her best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered. Neither the publisher nor the writer shall be liable in any way for readers’ efforts to apply, rely or utilize the information or recommendations presented herein as they may not be suitable for you or necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. This information is for educational purposes only. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.