Psalm 136: 1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.”
Often times when we think of the word loss, we think of a death of a family member or someone close to us. But, loss can come in many shapes or forms. As I am typing this, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast causing major damage and flooding affecting many families and individuals. Thousands completely lost or have had significant damage to their homes. Unfortunately, some know of individuals who have passed away as a direct result of this storm. Perhaps you have experienced loss due to unemployment, divorce, miscarriage, lost custody of your children, or a dream that has not come to fruition. You may be single like me and have the desire to be married and have children but that has not happened as of yet. Loss is all around us.
Throughout my life so far, I have experienced some significant losses. Most recently, I would have never guessed that in the span of a year I would have attended three funerals of individuals that I knew who had lost their lives due to senseless acts of violence. Although I did not know these individuals extremely well, their losses impacted me greatly. As a social worker, I am often around people that are hurting and in the midst of some type of loss. In this time of processing my own grief, I had to remind myself of everything that I would encourage others to do and be able to practice it myself. This included allowing myself to grieve these losses. I also sought the Lord to help me through this tough time. I was reminded that our heavenly Father understands what it is like to lose someone. He gave His one and only son, Jesus, to die for you and me. Our heavenly Father cares about us more than we can fathom or understand. He wants to come along side us in the midst of our grief.
So the question becomes, how can we practice Thanksgiving in the midst of loss?
Thanksgiving is defined by dictionary.com as 1) the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors, especially to God, 2) An expression of thanks, especially to God, 3) a public celebration in acknowledgement of divine favor or kindness, and 4) a day set apart for giving thanks to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I don’t know about you, but I have to admit that it is difficult for me to be thankful in all circumstances. During these times, I have found it helpful to look back and see how the Lord carried me through prior trials and losses. Over the years, the many trials that I have faced have helped build perseverance. Even when I didn’t think I could take another step, the Lord helped me each and every time.
I often remind myself to be thankful for what the Lord has provided and that He truly desires good for me. Spending time in the word and prayer are helpful and essential. I also love worship music and for me that is one of the ways I show praise to the Lord and also lament. (I am that person who sings in the car.) If it is a death of someone, I try to be thankful for memories I had with them and reflect on the impact they made on my life. I cling to the hope that the Lord is good even when I don’t understand why tragedies like these occur. As I watched the news in the recent loss of those affected by this hurricane, I was amazed at how many people stated they were very grateful (some thanking God) to be rescued and survive the storm, even though they lost nearly everything. Events such as these can provide perspective on what is really important.
The holidays can often be the most difficult time when dealing with a loss. It can be a reminder that your loved one is not around anymore, a dream has not been fulfilled, a poor choice perhaps was made or a choice was made for you that you did not want to happen. Whatever loss you may be facing this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to lean into the Lord. He wants to meet you right where you are at and give you comfort and a peace that only He can provide. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)
What are some losses that you are currently facing?
What are three ways that you can be thankful to God in the midst of this loss or multiple losses?
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Versionâ. Copyrightã 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Lauren Barr is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and resides in the Dallas, Texas area. She has two precious kitties, Dixie and Sadie. She enjoys traveling and playing tennis.