Thankful and in Pain

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain”      C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Around the turkey table we give thanks for the blessings we have received. We think of our families and their heartbeats and the prosperity we have tasted. We thank God for our country and for the love that fills our lives. Those are all good things to be thankful for, but what about the pain?

This year there are missing spots at the table because people pass. There is sickness riddling bones and sadness toiling minds. The news is always painted with the latest injustice, making our stomachs turn sour toward the world we live in.

But, pain has a place at the table this Thanksgiving.

It takes maturity in gratitude to say it is well when your world seems to be caving in. Pain usually leaves you wondering, where is God in this brokenness? Why thank Him?

In Colossians Paul tells us to be thankful because of our hope laid up in heaven. Jesus sits on the throne breathing and full of purifying blood. He expresses thanks to the Father for appointing Him to die so that we can be spared.

Corrie Ten Boom writes about her sister Betsy in The Hiding Place. Betsy thanks God for the fleas that eat at her skin and for the Nazi’s who beat her every night. She decides to live like it is well even though she is in a living hell.

“The Lord has anointed me to give them beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning.” Isaiah 61

Jesus has taken the sting out of death. He takes fleas and broken people and he turns them into beautiful things. He loves everyone, even the ones who beat us.

This Thanksgiving give thanks for the good and the bad, for the rejoicing and the pain.

Pain is temporary and heaven is near.

It doesn’t make sense, but we are stewards of God’s mysteries, not his certainties. The lows make the highs higher and we can always give thanks, even in the dark of night, because we are clothed in a radiant light.

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