By Manndi DeBoef
At this time of year, we reflect upon that for which we are thankful—family, friends, homes, jobs, children, financial security, food, freedom. . . . There seems to be a list of never-ending positive, thanksgiving-worthy blessings in every person’s life. However, what about those circumstances and events that plague us with worry, fear, and doubt? Illness, financial troubles, job loss, rebellious teenagers, aging parents—this list can be quite lengthy as well.
Grief, depression, and fear can produce a curtain of uncertainty and discontent that makes it nearly impossible for us to recognize the blessings that are all around.
First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Yet, how can we give thanks in times of suffering, intense grief, illness, depression, and upheaval?
The Bible says,
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).
Twice, the Bible mentions giving thanks at this celebration between Jesus and his disciples. This was a family meal, much like our own Thanksgiving around the dinner table. A meal where one person knew of the impending doom that was soon to come about, yet he gave thanks. A meal where he said one of his disciples would betray him, yet he gave thanks. A meal where the Host gave thanks despite the torture, pain, and death that awaited him.
Father, this life is fraught with difficulty and upheaval. Yet we know you can bring about beautiful blessings from the greatest of suffering, just like you did with the torturous death followed by the miraculous resurrection of your Son.
As we eat of the bread representing Jesus’ body and drink of the cup representing his blood shed for the forgiveness of sins, let us give thanks for the sacrifice made to ensure freedom in Christ and the promise of eternal life in heaven with him.
Manndi Maphies DeBoef works for the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Pharmacy. She is also a freelance writer. Her two sons, William and Waylan, provide parenting inspiration for her stories, which are fueled with inspiration, humor, and often a relatable devotion inspired by her relationship with Jesus.