Perhaps you are going through difficult times now. It is Thanksgiving season, and you wonder how you can rejoice and be thankful, because you are hurting. The sufferings of mankind are enormous. Doesn't anybody care? Yes, I know One who does, and that is our creator. Suffering is hard to understand. But even harder to understand than why we suffer is why Jesus, the Perfect, Spotless, Lamb of God had to suffer. He did so, because He loved us, and provided salvation for all who will believe. How can we be thankful in difficult times?

First, we can be thankful if our suffering is accomplishing some greater good!

Jesus, for the joy set before Him, in saving His people from their sins, endured the shame, and the sufferings of the cross. The greater good was our deliverance from sin, and our assurance of Heaven. If we have served God, and helped others with our life, then it was not in vain. Jesus came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for all.

Secondly, we can be thankful if we are in the centre of God's will!

This was certainly true of Jesus, and it should also be true of us. He was exactly where He was predestined to be. Just because you suffer it doesn't mean that God is angry at you, or has forsaken you. He may have some greater good to bring out through your suffering, for His glory. His hurt and rejection was part of God's eternal salvation plan. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (
John 3:16, KJV).

Thirdly, we can be thankful if we are in right relationship with God!

Jesus once told His disciples not to rejoice because they had the power to heal and cast out demons, but to rejoice, rather, because their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He always pleased the Father. He finished the work God sent Him into the world to do. It was “mission accomplished,” when it looked like it was “mission impossible.” Salvation is a free gift, but it came at a great cost to God. It cost the blood of His only-begotten Son.

Fourthly, we can be thankful if we have left behind an example worthy of being followed!

We are to walk “in His steps.” He blazed the path before us, and showed us all how life was meant to be lived.

Fifthly, and finally, we can be thankful if we have been faithful to God unto the end!

“Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” Jesus could have turned away from the cross. He could have called for twelve legions of angels to deliver Him, but He lay down His life, willingly, because He loved us so much.

We have much to be thankful for, but especially should we show gratitude for Christ, and all He accomplished for us.

 

Rev. Michael Cochran

 

Thanksgiving and Hard Times

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