Keys to the Kingdom By Carolyn Tucker
I have a wild variety of Thanksgiving memories from my younger years. My Aunt Velda was a hairdresser and sometimes she would cut my hair on Thanksgiving at our house. In the late 1970s, I got a speeding ticket driving from Springfield to Stockton. I found it hard to be thankful that day. My Dad innocently threw out the dressing to the dogs before Mom baked it. (It looked like scraps to him!) One year, we ate wild turkey that had previously lived across the road. Thanksgiving was/is a time for family togetherness, home-cooked food, hugs, loud stories, laughter, and a sincere prayer of thanks to God for His goodness. I have witnessed and experienced God’s great faithfulness all my life.
Thanksgiving is a special occasion to pause and be grateful that we’re not hopeless or helpless. Even though believers can’t fully grasp what God has done for us, we can bow low, raise our hands high, and worship Him. We should humbly thank God for His mercy — for what He’s done and all He hasn’t done. Dottie Rambo penned these compelling song lyrics: “If we had gotten justice we would surely be lost. But we found mercy when we knelt at the cross.”
With all of God’s abundant goodness in our lives, let’s not be guilty of running around like Chicken Little and squawking, “The sky is falling!” That hopeless attitude makes Christians look foolish and faithless and disappoints God. When we act like God won’t keep His word to provide and protect us, we make Him out to be a liar. He needs us to be good examples and choose to trust Him. “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). We mustn’t act like silly chickens but rather thankful believers full of hope, joy, peace, and gratitude.
God is in the past, present, and future. Christ followers need not fear the future because God is already there and He’s not the least bit disturbed. Recently, I was visiting with my late sister-in-law about a certain situation. I said, “I’m not worried about it,” so then she said, “Well, if you’re not worried, then I’m not going to worry.” I believe that conversation greatly pleased our heavenly Father. “And call for help when you’re in trouble — I’ll help you, and you’ll honor Me” (Psalm 50:15 MSG). God is not limited in any way, shape, or form. Therefore, we glorify Him when we surrender and place our trust in Him. No matter where we go or what we do, God is already there with patient arms full of love, grace, and mercy. Now that’s something to squawk about!
During Thanksgiving (and everyday) let’s focus on God’s constant presence in our life. “I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth?“ (Jeremiah 23:23-24 TEV). If God can keep the universe in perfection motion, shouldn’t we be confident to trust Him with all our concerns? And shouldn’t we be thankful for His mercy (getting what we don’t deserve and not getting what we do deserve)?
King David wrote, “The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him” (Psalm 28:7 AMP).
The Key: Let’s open the eyes of our heart and realize we’re blessed and be thankful.