Faith Featured Reflections

Thankful for the struggle

I know the season of thanksgiving is over. People all over North America have eaten their fill of turkey dinner leftovers and pumpkin pie. And even though Christmas has taken over Starbucks (along with everywhere else), I still feel the need to be thankful.

I’ve gained a different perspective lately.

The past few months have been wrought with uncertainty, disappointment, and all-consuming anxiety. While my struggle pales in comparison to most, these last couple of months have been an uphill climb.

There have been days when it was difficult to get out of bed. I’ve questioned God, wrestled with trust, and have felt defeated. I’ve faced my own misconceptions of God. I’ve been humbled.

(And so, in amongst the moments of joy and gratitude, there lives a struggle.)

Yet I am overwhelmingly thankful. Perhaps it is because I see the clearing up ahead, and God has proven His faithfulness once again. I would like to think there were moments in-between where I mustered up a thankful heart, or made the choice to be thankful despite my circumstances. Either way, I am certainly overwhelmed by it now.

As my mother wisely said, “Faith is so often in hindsight.”

It is when we see God work and come through that we trust in Him. It is in hindsight that we are thankful for the struggle.

I am thankful for the last few months I spent wrestling with the monster of unemployment. I am thankful for the day my car got into a fight with a tree and lost. I am thankful that the guy I was dating made promises he didn’t keep, and then broke up with me. And I am thankful that it took me a while to get over it.

I’m thankful for the disappointments. The list goes longer and deeper.

I am thankful, because without those times, I would have never discovered the delightful combination of toast, cream cheese, honey, sliced pears and cinnamon. I probably would have never started writing, or met the people I have through that venture. I might never have had to learn to ask for help, work through heartache, or face my fears. I might never have known that when tested, my faith holds out. And even when it doesn’t, the love of God is steadfast.

I am so thankful for those times, because they’ve pushed me closer towards God, even when I didn’t see it. The hard times have made me who I am, and they have shaped my character. (Well, perhaps with the exception of splurging on the cream cheese.)

When we think of being thankful, we are so quick to praise God for the blessings, for the good things like the new job or the financial provision. But lately I’ve been so thankful for the things in my life that aren’t seemingly so great. If all God did was pour my idea of blessing over me, I would likely turn out spoiled rotten.


Photo by karenlao