I understand the pain of having a missing seat at the Thanksgiving table. I know how disappointed you may be that your spouse has not come home yet. This Thanksgiving, may you thank the Lord for all He is doing on the other side of your mountain.
Several years ago, our family ate our Thanksgiving dinner at Lori’s with all the trimmings. Later that day, my children and I went to a Hospice unit, packed Bob up, and the ambulance brought him home to live out his final days in our house.
Earlier that week, Bob had been transported to the Hospice unit. The doctor and nurses did not expect he would ever leave alive. Despite knowing Bob’s terminal condition, we were all praising and thanking the Lord that Bob had a little longer with his family and was home where he wanted to be. We were given an opportunity, and we chose to rejoice in that season over small answers to prayer.
“Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. Psalm 30:10-12
I thank the Lord that even in our darkest hours, He knows what is best for each of us. He tells us to praise Him despite our circumstances. Rejoice. God is faithful. Will you choose to rejoice in the Lord this week?
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
The Lord wants you to put His Word into practice. The God of peace will be with you. Can you even begin to imagine that peace? If you do not feel God’s peace, which is unexplainable, then choose to be obedient to this whole passage, and the God of peace will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
My prayer for you this Thanksgiving is that the Peace of God will bless you and that you can celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones. If you have children, I pray you will be intentional. Keep old traditions alive or start making some new ones so that they will have good memories of this Thanksgiving in the future.
I want to encourage you to see, through the eyes of faith, what Thanksgiving could be like for you and the one you love in the years ahead. It could be a day of joy, or it could be a day of bitterness and regrets.
If you are facing this Thanksgiving alone and hurting, my heart breaks for you. I have faced holidays from that same position. Be encouraged today that God is at work on the other side of your mountain. All you need to do is pray and stand firm. God is at work.
Instead of being discouraged and depressed about your situation, instead of taking things into your own hands, may you stay in the Word and make Thanksgiving a day (and a weekend) of prayer for all prodigals. You will be on my mind and covered in prayer.
Never stop praying that your spouse will have their own personal encounter with the Lord. Just as Saul had his own Damascus Road experience with the Lord. Praise His Holy Name. God’s timing is always perfect. Just keep praying, believing, and waiting!
“To open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:18