Q: It’s been a bad year for me — my husband died, I’ve been in and out of the hospital several times, our children live far away and seldom visit, etc. How can God possibly expect me to be thankful when so much has gone wrong? — J.M.
A: Don’t think of thankfulness as an obligation that God demands of us. Think of it instead as an opportunity — an opportunity God gives us to pause and remember all the good things he has done for us.
Does this seem impossible to you? It probably does right now; all you can think about are the hard times you’ve been through in the last year. And this isn’t necessarily wrong; those times were real, and so are your grief and your heartache. Job, who knew what it was to suffer pain and loss, declared, “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1).
But listen: God knows what you’ve been going through, and he has never abandoned you. He loves you, and he has helped you and sustained you even when you weren’t aware of it. How do I know he loves you? I know it because Jesus Christ was willing to go to the cross and give his life for you, so all your sins could be forgiven and you could be with him in heaven forever. Invite him to come into your heart and life today.
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Thursday is Thanksgiving across the United States. Let me suggest that you take a sheet of paper and prayerfully write down everything you can think of that’s good in your life. Then thank God for each one, and ask him to remind you of them every day. The Bible says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.