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Troubles Vs. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving morning left a lot to be desired, my dear readers. I almost burned my house down because I put the ham I was cooking in a pan that was too small. (I might be exaggerating here, but not by much. The grease from the ham escaped the pan and dripped onto the hot oven.)

My 6-year-old was delighted that everyone was coming over, and so, she decided to either a) get out every arts and crafts kit known to man and make cards for everyone or b) run around everywhere because she was so excited. There was no in between, nor any kind of way to reason with her that all the people coming over wanted to be able to sit at the table without piles of papers and crayons on it or that running around like a crazy person was mildly distracting for those of us who were trying not to have a nervous breakdown over a turkey.

Then, as people began to arrive, and the turkey was coming out of the oven, we found out that my refrigerator was dying. (The ham had been relocated safely to a Crockpot after some knife work by myself and my husband.)

In my typical way, I began panicking about the fridge, but my husband looked at me with a smile and told me not to worry when I asked “What will we do?” When I began to get irritated and asked him why I shouldn’t worry, he said, “Because it’s time to eat, baby.”

Throughout the process of getting food out of the oven, I told my mom that the rolls were burnt. “Everything will be fine,” she said.

As it turns out, the guests that came over and my little family were all content — I was the one having issues. No one cared that the ham was in a Crockpot. No one cared that the rolls may have been a little burnt. My dad happened to have an extra refrigerator that we could have and we didn’t lose any food in the process.

It really was fine.

After a brief kerfuffle on my part, we sat, we ate and for a few moments, the world and it’s troubles didn’t bother us. Surrounding the two tables at Thanksgiving was a bubble of contentment that couldn’t be permeated by whatever was going on outside of it. Between the turkey and the mashed potatoes, there was a side of hope and love that transcended the issues that normally weighed down on us.

These days are difficult, my friends. There are so many reasons we can feel down and out. The world weighs down on us, and we can’t seem to lift our heads. This is done on purpose in order to keep us distracted, keeping us focused on what is going wrong rather than what is going right.

We are told of this in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Instead, even in the most difficult of circumstances, we are meant to focus on the Lord. In Colossians 3:5, Paul tells us to “put to death, therefore, what is earthly in you,” and later, in verse 17, he writes, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

It seems like an easy thing, but it can be so hard to do. When stress piles up on our shoulders and we focus only on those things, how can we “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,” when all we can think of is ourselves?

Yet, I realized today as I wrote this, that in that moment on Thanksgiving, all the troubles, doubts and trials fell away from the table and we were able to carry on in love, despite the stress we walked in with.

Satan is actively trying to steal our joy. Every minute of every day, he doesn’t want us living in that peace. So friends, we have to actively focus on staying in that peace through praying and giving thanks to God. We have to recognize what is happening, turn it over to God and not feed into the troubles. It may not be easy, but it is worth it.

Let’s delve into thanksgiving instead of into the troubles.

This week, let’s lift one another up in prayer that we might be able to carry out what it says in James 4:7-8. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

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