Thanksgiving will once again be celebrated this coming Thursday. It is certainly a holiday we look forward to every year. Yet, there are so many who take this word, Thanksgiving, for granted. Just what does it really mean to you? In contemplating this question I began by thinking of the abundance of good things that have happened in my life. Now, that is something to really be thankful for.
But wait, the scripture says to be thankful in ALL things. Okay, let me think a minute. How in the world can I be thankful for things that are anything but good; the things that bless me? How can I be expected to be thankful for the things that hurt me? Do I just stop in my tracks and say, “WoW! Thank you God for this event in my life and all the misery and discomfort it has caused?” I don’t want to have a theological dissertation about this question. I will simply say that because we all experience bad stuff in our lives it makes us even more thankful when we have the good things happen to us. Those things are what we bring to the forefront of Thanksgiving.
However, today I want to share one of the negative things I am thankful for in my life. In 1988 my fifteen year son was chased by a gang, beaten, cut up and drowned in a nasty canal. I can hear you asking, “How can you EVER be thankful for that?” I wasn’t for a very long time. I carried a lot bitterness and hatred toward another race for what they did to my son. I envisioned them having a great time cutting and laughing at him while his screams exploded in a terrifying fear and tears ruptured forth in convulsive anguish down his face. Oh my God, my God, where are you? And then, they left him to float in that putrid, stinking canal until someone found his body. I hated God, I hated that race! I hated everything and everyone around me, including myself for letting this happen. I was supposed to protect him; I was his Dad and I let him down! I did not do my job! WHY GOD, WHY? For so long I was on this campaign of self-destruction. It affected my life, and my family.
“Thank [God] in everything
[no matter what the circumstances may be,
be thankful and give thanks],
for this is the will of God for you [who are]
in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].”
I Thessalonians 5:18 – (Amplified Bible)
Today, I am thankful for the tremendous pain I experienced. I can hear your mind spinning and asking, how you can be grateful for this heart shattering torment? Let me explain it like this. I gave my heart to God many long years before this event. I also took what God provided me for granted. When Thanksgiving came around each year I always gave Him a great big Thank You! Not until “I fell on my knees and cried holy,” asking God to forgive me for my failure that I began to heal. I had to accept that it was my failure. Not that I couldn’t protect him but that I did not place my sorrow, grief, and anger in the only One who could calm my spirit. I couldn’t heal on my own. It took my Father and his arms around me, lifting me from my sorrow to begin the healing. The sorrow and pain of John’s loss is not gone, but that through the blood of Christ on the cross I am able to move forward with Him.
“Surely he hath borne our grief’s, and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:4-5 (KJV)
I couldn’t do it on my own. All God could do is step back in the field of my despair and watch me fail. He had to wait on me. For years He waited; for years I was alone.
I hope you do not mind that I decided to share this story at such a happy time of year. You see, those who have lost loved ones are reminded of them when this season comes around. Though so many years ago this happened, I still love him and miss him. That never goes away. But with the grace of God I have a promise. Because John was a Christian, I will be with him again in heaven. I smile when I think of my arm around his shoulder singing praises to our Father, forever.
Wait upon the Lord. He wants us to use our energy to praise Him and give thanks for the blessings we have and realize that like Job, we can lose them at any moment. My prayer for you is that if you are alone this season, or hurting, that you come to realize you cannot change what has happened. It may take a knee scrapping encounter of forgiveness but I assure you it is well worth it. Release of hatred and anger, through forgiveness, will bring forth peace. I promise.
That my friend is why I give thanks
to our Father!
Have a great Thanksgiving with your families this year. I will be on the road from Mississippi to Washington D.C. Know that I am so thankful for all of you who have not only liked my by blog but are also following it. God Bless!