Thankfulness should not be difficult for me. I am free, and I am loved, and I know Truth. But circumstances sometimes blind me. A particularly taxing personal time buried within a cultural din of frustration and anger has led to exhaustion. I am certain I am not the only entering this season feeling depleted, uncertain, and emotionally spent. And yet, as I drove to school in the dim morning, I reflected on a brief morning ritual with Anika. Anika, who finally fell to sleep crying after numerous warnings and frustrated reminders from me, awoke with seemingly no recollection of the tumultuous evening. She came around the bathroom corner and looked at me with complete love and trust as I put on my makeup. It is a new day, I thought, and she is giving me a new opportunity to practice patience, to earn her trust, and to show her unconditional love.
I am putting my heart into a thanksgiving spirit with this reminder. I am abundantly fortunate for new days, new opportunities to love and be loved. God brought the story of the widow with the oil jar to my mind as I drove along the highway. She had many debts and not many means, but every jar was filled out of God’s abundant provision (see 2 Kings 4:1-7). My jar is often empty: I run out of time, out of wisdom, out of patience. I have debts and debtors that I cannot pay out of my worn pockets. But God always provides. When I am waiting for an answer, God gives peace. When I feel like I have run out of answers, God provides resources. When I am out of the strength to continue a battle, God shares strength. But most importantly, God gave me Jesus. Jesus is many times not a popular answer, but He is always my Answer. He is abundance, and in Him I am filled, and refilled, according to His purpose and plan. Take away religious rhetoric, cultural confusion, and personal ideology, and what is left for me is Jesus. Jesus, who multiplied the bread and fish to make a miracle, still offers abundance to me.
I know not what tomorrow holds, but I will remain thankful. I will see abundance when I am afraid of emptiness. Like the harvest which leads to feasting, I will focus on sowing evidence of Christ, praying for crops of His love to grow abundantly from the earth. And I will harvest with thanksgiving, not for material blessings, but for the needs that I am able to meet through Jesus.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8.