It’s all well and good when things are going just dandy to post a daily, “I’m thankful for [whatever]”.
It’s another thing entirely when the bottom has fallen out or your world is turned upside down or your heart is shattered and you can’t find even the tiniest spark of gratitude in your dark world.
Yet the Bible clearly states I am to “give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18)
I am absolutely NOT thankful that my son is dead.
I am not thankful my family circle is broken and my living children have to carry the weight of sibling loss for a lifetime.
I am not thankful that there will always be an empty chair at every holiday gathering regardless of how many show up around the table.
But the verse doesn’t say I have to be thankful FOR all circumstances, but instead to be thankful IN them.
Even on the morning of the dreadful news, I was filled with gratitude for the knowledge that nothing can separate me from the love of God.
As I held the hands of two of my living children, I was oh, so thankful that they were there and that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we would walk through this together as a family.
When the sun came up, my heart reminded me that the world was still turning and God was still on the throne.
And while it was a long, long time before these feelings were more than faint whispers against a background of screaming pain, I could still hear them.
Now I have learned that thankfulness and brokenness can live side by side in a heart and in a life. One does not overshadow or negate the other.
I may not be thankful for what I’m going through (frankly, I’m not) but I am thankful I’m not going through it alone.
I can come into the Presence of my God any time I choose because Jesus has made a way. I can bring my petitions before the Throne of Grace because there is no longer any veil separating me from the Father.
And I am always, always thankful for that.