Devotional | Kyra Byrns | Nov 19, 2023
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:21-23
Thanksgiving is this week! When you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, does your family take turns sharing what they are grateful for? Sometimes, we do. It typically looks like this: we all sit down with full plates, ready to dive into the meal we have been preparing and smelling for hours. We are hungry and ready to eat, when my mom asks what everyone is thankful for. We typically grumble and a few of us roll our eyes (how cliché, right?). We’ve been waiting to eat all day! But I think the real reason my family doesn’t love this tradition is because we aren’t very emotionally deep with each other, so it can feel awkward sharing important things, like what we’re truly grateful for.
When we go around the table it usually results in fairly typically, dare I say, superficial things like, our houses, our friends, and each other. All things we should be grateful for, but all easy answers. What would it look like if we paused for a moment and thought a little deeper, rather than using last year’s recycled answers … what am I grateful for that isn’t necessarily right in front of me? What has God blessed me with THIS year?
When you read the verse above, you were probably wondering if this would actually be a devotion about gratitude. It’s not common to see Lamentations mentioned in tandem with giving thanks. But there are many reasons this verse stirs gratitude within me.
I am going through a season of grief and have come across this verse multiple times. I finally slowed down and meditated on this Scripture, and I realized I am grateful for hope in the face of suffering. I am grateful that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” because it’s a constant I can always rely on. I am grateful that the narratives of people who experienced suffering and grief are included in the Bible because I don’t feel so alone.
This year, when we go around the table and say what we are thankful for, I am going to be brave in the face of discomfort and say I am grateful for hope. I am grateful for a God who sacrificed his Son to make us right with him. I am grateful for the hope that the resurrection of Jesus assures for each of us. Mostly, I am grateful for the hope that suffering and grief will no longer exist because this earth is not our true home.
So, what are you grateful for that isn’t necessarily right in front of you? What has God blessed you with THIS year? Maybe it’s peace or love. Maybe for the first time in a long time you feel seen. Maybe your community has stepped up this year and surrounded you with support. What would the conversations around the Thanksgiving table look like if we all were brave enough to be vulnerable with our answers?
God, Thank you for unfailing hope despite our circumstances. Our situations or feelings may change, but you never do. Thank you for a time of year that allows us to slow down and be with our families, a time of year that encourages us to reflect on what we are grateful for. Lord, please open our eyes to where you are at work, so we may be grateful.
Kyra ByrnsWeb Content Specialist
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