It Ain't All Bad In The Valley of Suck: Learning to Give Thanks

Too soon?

It is just the end of September, it is not the time for giving thanks yet, is it?  I mean, we have a day for this after all right?  I'll be the first to admit it, I am a little miffed about some things in my life.  I know, pastors are NOT supposed to put that out there are we?  Look, I heard a few grumblings about the phrase "valley of suck," so I know I can rub a few people the wrong way.  Sorry, it is not my intent.

On my journey through the valley of grieving and loss, I have met those worse off than myself.  Sometimes these folks have been bitter but more times than not, I have been amazed by the resilience and faith of so many too.  At times, their optimism has led me to simply stop and give thanks...

...and then I wonder, "why do we not do this more?"  I don't mean putting on "rose-colored glasses" and seeking some "Neverland" to live in.  But why do we always wait to list out our thankfulness till November?!?!

I grew up with a responsive reading in my church every week.  Usually, the reading came from the Book of Psalms.  And as I have been on the journey through the valley of suck, the Psalms have been a fire hose blast of inspiration and emotions that resonate with my soul.  One of those themes I find over and over again is THANKS.

How do we keep missing this?  I am at a loss as to why we in the Church have come to ignore what are words intended to remind us and inspire us to know the fullness of God's love for us?  Name any situation, and I have heard someone say, "I just don't know why God would allow that to happen?"  But when we talk about being thankful to God, the words do not come across as very convincing.

I think it has a great deal to do with our admission we are just a wee-bit prideful about taking credit for the good things.  We like to take full credit for our successes and allow God to carry all the blame for the bad.  I believe our spirituality needs to make room for the full expression of human emotions in relation to God.

The words of the writer of Psalm 105 made me stop and take heed this week and I pray it will do the same for you.  Can you...will you...stop and recognize right now, the deeds God has done for you?  The psalms are reminding us often to stop and give thanks but if we do not do it, then, it is like saying we have love but don't...we're just a banging gong (1 Corinthians 13).

A bad as the valley has sucked, the deeds God has done and continues to do, renew me and renew my hope.  I have had my heart expand to love again.  I have found the strength to be a single parent and I have seen my kids grow in ways I could not imagine.  These are just a few I can name and there are indeed more.

May I ask, what are the deeds God has done for you?  Don't wait till November to name them.  This isn't about God after all, it is about you and me and what role God plays in our lives.


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