I like the comic "Real Life Adventures" because it feeds one of my favorite pastimes: making fun of real life adventures. On the Allegra Refrigerator of Fame is this:
Son (looking out of window): "Looks like a nice day out."
Mom (facing away from window): "If you can see past the sun highlighting the dirt on the windows and the dust on the furniture."
Son: "Women are different from us, aren't they, Dad."
I can hear husbands reading this say, "Yep."
In his commentary on Psalm 88, Charles Spurgeon wrote, "Alas, when under deep depression the mind forgets all [blessings], and is only conscious of its unutterable misery; the man sees the lion but not the honey in its carcass, he feels the thorns but he cannot smell the roses which adorn them."
A coworker and I walked down the street after a storm. Above the tall gray buildings, we could see the tall gray clouds with the sun barely winking at us through the gloom. I said there should be a rainbow and sure enough - according to God's promise after the flood - there it was, brighter and more colorful than "green" bulbs. We smiled.
If you've gone through hard times (and who hasn't?), you know how problems tip the scales to the point where it seems the blessings we have, including hope, fall off the other side.
November's big day is Thanksgiving, a day that baffles atheists and distresses the distressed, but is meant to glorify God for His bounty to us. For people dealing with fears, frustrations, family fights, and physical failures, it can be difficult, if not seemingly hypocritical, to be thankful.
However, God has commanded us to be thankful, most succinctly expressed in Ephesians 5:20: "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Giving thanks for all things? In the context, we are to turn, not to drunkenness, but to each other and the Lord with songs and service. There are no exceptions mentioned or implied.
There are at least eight Psalms that say, "O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever" (Psalm 107:1). This command appears elsewhere in Scripture as well, often coupled with prayer (Philippians 4:6). When we can't see the sun for the dirt or the furniture for the dust or forget to look for the rainbow in the clouds, we can remember that, in all things, the Lord is merciful. He will not allow our problems to crush us. He gives us breath and brains, beauty for ashes and bread for appetites, while we struggle to thank, praise, and trust Him. He offers eternal life and bliss to those who accept His son, Jesus Christ. He gives us an infallible book with over 770,000 words of truth and hope. He gives us . . . well, start counting - I'm running out of space.
Despite the Norman Rockwell image of happy families drooling over Grandma's perfectly cooked turkey and polished silverware, everyone's Thanksgiving is not so warm and cozy. You may be spending it alone or with people you don't like or in a hospital bed, at work or otherwise not as you would want. Look through the dirt and focus on the sun. Write your name and your blessings in the dust. Don't turn from the window and miss the view beyond your circumstances. Remember God's promise: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
"O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever."