Feast on God’s Goodness

I recently read post-election family feuds continue due to tensions and discord after the divisive and challenging campaigns that occurred here in our nation. Add a dash of protesting, a side of expectations, and the one sibling who won’t let you graduate from your fifteen-year-old self and voila! You now have a feast of dread! Happy Thanksgiving?

How should we approach this day of giving thanks? Gratitude seldom comes easy when hurt feelings, stress, and exhaustion demand our focus. The sleepless nights of uncertainty and hopelessness don’t help either. What about “the renewing of our minds?” Okay sure, but how?
Stay diligent and strive to continue to pray against the things that prevent us from giving thanks. Yes, pray for our nation and tell God all about it. Tell him again how your sibling always irritates you! Get angry. Cry. God can handle it, I promise. 
Let’s decide to serve others and extend God’s grace to those who need it. I often tell my kids serving helps me shift the focus from myself to others. Serving knits hearts together and for a moment, political parties, materialism, and past grudges don’t matter. 
Put your confidence in Christ. Think about all the things the Lord has done in your life and look for his grace throughout your lifetime. Remember a profound and confident knowledge of Christ comes from loving him and others. Go and spend some time alone with him so you can find the kind of encouragement that only comes from him especially during difficult times. Soon you will “have all the riches of assured understanding and knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:2-3).
Stand firm in your faith. What keeps you from trusting God, especially during these days of uncertainty? Soon after the election, my faith had shifted from trusting in God’s promises to believing everything I read in the news. Discouraged, I began to sing a jingle—a scripture—I learned in church.
“So then just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, remember to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthening the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness” (Col 2:6–7). It took awhile to change my thinking. Don’t get me wrong. I continued to read the news; I just didn’t make it my lifeline. Christ already saved me, and I’m holding on to him for safety.
For those of us who confess Christ as our Lord responding in gratitude essentially guards our minds and hearts. Look at how Paul puts it in Romans 1:21: “Although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.” If our hearts can not respond to God with gratitude, we risk our minds to darkness. John Piper explains, “Gratitude is the guardian of the lamp of the soul. If the guardian dies, the lamp goes out. Guard yourselves with gratitude!”
God appointed gratitude as one of the essential guardians of our souls to kindle in us a true, deep-seated feeling of thankfulness to the Lord. So instead of dreading this Thanksgiving, we should feast in God's goodness so we can guard our hearts and ourselves in gratitude against the tension and discord that have taken over part of our lives and some of our homes. 
Give thanks to Lord! Go ahead and add a dash of singing, a side of humble adoration, and the one sibling who won’t let you forget why your fifteen-year-old self trusted Christ and voila! You now have a feast of God’s goodness! God is good. He never changes and completely loves you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Raquel Wroten (MAMC, Dallas Theological Seminary) was born in McAllen, Texas but has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area most of her life. Raised by a single mother, Raquel grew up knowing the meaning of diversity, creativity, and chaos through her four brothers and three sisters. The greatest gift she ever received came from her mother who taught her that living as a believer doesn’t mean perfection, it means grace. Raquel met her husband Rick at a church retreat in Oklahoma on a cold November weekend. They dated for a year and got married in June 1992. A couple of years later, Rick graduated with his ThM, and they welcomed Joshua. . .then Abby. . .and surprise, it’s Anna! Intermixing their cultures, the Wrotens have established a variety of traditions along with interesting combinations of food. Raquel believes that ministry begins at home so she finds new ways of serving those she calls her own. Raquel serves as editor of DTS Magazine and enjoys writing (in English, Spanish and Spanglish), cooking, coffee, education and serving up a feast for her friends and family.