Can you be thankful in the midst of lament?


A tad late but this was a blog I wrote for the Biblical faculty site for Thanksgiving. It raises the question for how to be thankful and lament at the same time. Since I wrote this, I ran across a very apt quote by Rick Warren in Time Magazine (emphases mine). Follow the link below to read his short essay.

This year became the worst year of my life when my youngest son, who’d struggled since childhood with mental illness, took his own life. How am I supposed be thankful this Thanksgiving? When your heart’s been ripped apart, you feel numb, not grateful.

And yet the Bible tells us Give thanks IN ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The key is the word “in.” God doesn’t expect me to be thankful FOR all circumstance, but IN all circumstances. There’s a huge difference. The first attitude is masochism. The second shows maturity. We’re not supposed to be thankful for evil or sin, or the innocent suffering caused by these things. But even in heartache and grief and disappointment, there are still good things that I can be thankful for.

I used to think that life was a series of mountain highs and valley lows, but actually we get both at the same time. In our world broken by sin, the good and the bad come together. On the cover of my wife’s book, Choose Joy, is a photo of a railroad track heading into the horizon. Like that photo, our lives are always running on two parallel rails simultaneously. No matter how good things are in my life, there are always problems I must deal with, and no matter how bad things are in my life, there are always blessings I can be grateful for.

Read more: Rick Warren | Thanksgiving Gratitude With Michelle Obama, Rick Warren and More | TIME.com http://time100.time.com/2013/11/25/time-for-thanks/slide/rick-warren/#ixzz2n5fFWVDz

 

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Filed under Christianity, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, suffering

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