Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things! Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield.” (Joel 2:21 – 22)

Last year the question was, “How can we give thanks for/in the year we have had?” This year we should say, “How can we not give thanks that we have gotten through this year!” What a difference a year makes!

“O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the LORD your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” (Verses 23 – 24)

Are the promises of the Lord God any less believable because we have had difficulties? Does a hard year Divine thinks any less of us? That is the trap that Israel and Judah feel into. Because things had gone badly for them, they thought they could turn away from the Lord God. The prophets calling them, calling them back to faith, and prophesying the good & the bad was proof that Yahweh was still over them. And that the Lord God is with us still is something to give thanks for.

“I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Verses 25 – 27)

I have off and on, beloved reader, thought about throwing in the towel & ending my pondering blog. Yes, I have! The days that I have struggled have started to outweigh the days that have gone by easily. And think to myself how much easier it would be if I did not commit myself to doing this four days a week. But I would miss it. And I think a part of me would wither away without it. While I do not view myself as a prophet, it does sometimes feel like my writing are sent out to the far corners and I am never sure if they are heard and heeded. Which actually should be proceeded by thought of whether they are worthy of being heard and heeded. I really have to wonder if the prophets & apostles ever felt that way.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” ((1 Timothy 2:1 – 2)

If could and would, beloved reader, offer up prayer for me – it would warm my spirit. And I would be very thankful.

“This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all–this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” ( Verses 3 – 7)

Paul was thankful that that Jesus and the Lord God came to him, whirled him and his thinking, and set him down on a new path. I remember when that happened to me; thankfulness was not exactly my feeling at the time. But I am quite thankful now! That in-between time, however, was a time filled with fears and concerns about all sorts of things. It embarrasses me a little how concerned I was during those years. Looking back, I can understand why. And I am thankful also that during that time the Divine was seeing & carrying me through it.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:25-33)

I must say, beloved reader, this has become much more personal a reflection for Thanksgiving Day then I had first envisioned. I had thought to encourage all of you to give thanks. But I am find that I am giving thanks. It is my hope that my revealing my journey will encourage you to look at yours – perhaps over this past year, or perhaps over a longer period of time. What ever your time frame of reflection may be, may you be able to say with the psalmist,

When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.” (Psalm 126)

Shalom & Selah! Happy Thanksgiving!