Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. I love this holiday. And look, it’s not because of the turkey or the football or even the gathering of family together… no, it’s just the heart of the thing. I love the idea that we set aside a whole day for such a beautiful emotion as thankfulness. When you think about it, we Christians ought to have the market cornered on giving thanks. Of all the people in the world, we should be the most thankful. In fact, when you consider what we believe about what we have in light of what we deserve, the only appropriate response is gratitude.
Even so, let’s be honest: We’re not thankful all the time. Gratitude may be appropriate, but it doesn’t always come naturally. I know that in my heart, sometimes thankfulness is not only absent, but I find myself filled with nothing but pure, visceral bitterness. Now, the Bible says that the will of God for us is literally to be thankful all the time, no matter what happens, (1 Thessalonians 5:18) but the question is, how can we possibly do that?! How can we be thankful even when we are in the midst of a situation that completely sucks and feels totally unfair, unreasonable or even tragic and wrong? Well, this may sound weird, but the answer is time travel
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Whoa, time out. Did you just say time travel?” - and yes, I totally did, but hang with me, because I’m going somewhere with this.
About seven months after Christy and I got married, my mom walked out on my dad. The next year or so of my life was the hardest season I have ever been through. I couldn’t believe that God allowed this to happen to my family, and as I watched everything I had always leaned on fall apart in front of me, I was eaten up with anger, bitterness and confusion. Why us? Why now?
Now, I’m 32 years old. I’ve been married for over 10 years and have a family of my own. When I look back on all that happened, I see everything differently. I still don’t know why it all happened, but I am able to see amazing and beautiful things that came out of the ashes of that mess. For instance, Christy and I have an awesome marriage. She’s my best friend and the two of us are absolutely pouring our hearts into this relationship. We are completely committed. We are on an intense mission to give everything we have to this relationship every day, and honestly, one of the reasons we feel that way is that we lived through the emotional devastation of divorce right there at the beginning of our marriage and it steeled us for the life we now fight for and enjoy. Jesus used that disaster to give me something beautiful I may have never had otherwise. In a way, now that I’m on the other side of that hurt, I’m thankful for what happened, because it ensured that I would resolve never to do the same thing.
In Revelation 5, we get a glimpse into the future. It’s like traveling through time into heaven at the end of everything when there’s no more problems, pain, drama, trouble, poverty, sickness, sin, death or tears. Jesus is seated on His throne as the unrivaled King of every molecule in the Universe and everyone in heaven is singing a song to Him that goes like this: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
You see, when this world is over, and we’re all worshiping Jesus together in heaven, we’re going to be on the other side of all of our problems. Heaven is going to clear up the confusion and unravel the mystery and we’ll be able to see all of the beautiful things Jesus was bringing out of our struggles. In the end, everyone will be thanking Him for the amazing ways He turned pain into praise. I believe that Revelation gives us that glimpse as a time traveling promise to help us have a thankful heart right now, in the middle of the hurt. One day you’ll see it. On the other side, you’ll be thankful. Why not go ahead and trust Him now? I know you don’t understand it all yet, but why not go ahead and believe in the future? Let’s beat the rush and thank Him today.