Happy Thanksgiving! We are not celebrating with a turkey dinner today, because we’re in a country which celebrates this holiday last month.
We missed it in October, because we were in still another country…..so we’re having our Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday. Tonight….Spaghetti, probably another puritan favourite.
I was just about to write up a post here about how hard it is to find cranberries in Canada in November, when I remembered that I did that last year and it doesn’t sound thankful at all, so I’m not going to do it again. And anyhow, I DID find cranberries this year, and they are simmering away on the stove right now with sugar and orange marmalade, getting thicker and sweeter for Saturday evening.
For today, there is no turkey yet, just thankfulness. And thankfulness is just quiet contentment with what has been placed before us by the hand of God. Recognizing that where I am is where God has placed me, and that I can learn more here than I could if I were in the place I might have chosen. A. W. Pink said, in a sermon on contentment, that it is “the product of a heart resting in God”.
And Jeremiah Burroughs said “The great design God has in afflicting you is to break and humble your heart; and will you maintain a spirit quite opposite to the work of God? For you to murmur and be discontented is to resist the work of God. God is doing you good if you could see it and if He is pleased to sanctify your affliction to break that hard heart of yours and humble that proud spirit of yours, it would be the greatest mercy that you ever had in your life.” And I say, Amen!
Ten or twelve years ago, out in the desert of California, I was complaining to an older woman in our church there that I missed my family and was finding it hard to live so far from everything familiar to me, and that the rattlesnakes and poisonous spiders were getting me down.
And she told me that I’d have to stand up straight and act like a grown-up, get over my whining, do the best with what I had, because God had put me there in that spot so I could learn to trust Him better and quit looking to other people to meet my needs. She also said that I probably wouldn’t learn that lesson quite as well if I were in a comfortable landscape with higher humidity, more live vegetation and a great gathering of old friends around me, seeing as I had such a deep affection for those things.
So, I left her house feeling a little cranky and out of joint over her failure to empathize with me. And I have spent the years since coming to understand her wisdom more and more.
So, whatever desert you are in, and however much you wish it were another landscape entirely, and for whatever reason you think you are entitled to complain, I will just say “Don’t go there.”
There is something to learn where you are, and today’s opportunities are unique. So don’t waste them complaining. Be thankful and step out in obedience.