Lifelines November 18, 2018

Thanksgiving rolls around, and we begin to take stock of our blessings.  We think of family, friends, home, health and all of the other good things in our lives.  It is a joyous time as we focus on everything that is positive.  Each season of the year is drenched with reasons to be grateful, but this is when we pause to take note of them.  They are not always obvious.

The Lord promised long ago to provide the means by which every individual could be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3).  The road to the fulfillment of that promise was long and winding.  It was a quarter of a century before there was any evidence at all, and that came after doubts crept into Abraham’s head.  Years passed, hundreds of them.  The people through whom the blessings were to come endured the worst of circumstances for generations.  These were God’s chosen people?  It makes us wonder: How would Thanksgiving have been for the Israelites in Egypt?

Even after their miraculous deliverance, there were many stumbles.  Idolatry always lingered in the margins.  Faith faltered.  Demands for a king proved to be a disaster with long term consequences.  Rejecting the Lord always brings a heavy price tag.  The pathway to universally available blessings appeared to have been blocked by human incompetence and rebellion.  More centuries passed.  How would Thanksgiving have been in Babylonian captivity?

Powerful military forces continued to rise and fall as the Lord prepared the world for the greatest blessing of all.  The most profound cause for gratitude was born in a barn among the animals, hardly an impressive debut.  There was scarcely a peep from Him for three decades, and when He did emerge, He was not at all what was expected. His public ministry offended the self-righteous and attracted the sinful.  Giving thanks was probably the furthest thing from minds of the religious establishment.

The Lord delivered on His long-awaited promise of blessing in an unexpected way.  The storm clouds of opposition grew increasingly dark.  Confusion morphed into anger giving birth to hostility.  Insiders betrayed, denied and abandoned Him.  Outsiders killed Him.  The promise had surely been a false one.  Thanksgiving for what?  A dead Savior?

Then, there was Sunday.  The Christ had taken the enemy’s best shot and had emerged victoriously.  Thousands of pages had been ripped off the calendar from promise to fulfillment.  Humans, all kinds of them, had been the means through which God delivered; wicked, wayward, faithful, loyal, weak and strong.  They had all been instruments in the Lord’s hands.

Would they have had a sense of being part of something so monumental?  There is always a reason to be grateful.  The Lord is good, and we can count on Him to be faithful to His promises even when it appears impossible.  Enjoy the food, fun and family but we must always remember the source of our greatest blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!