Is it okay to acknowledge that sometimes a spirit of thankfulness is difficult?
Is it okay to recognize that many, if not most of us are in a season of deep lamenting right now, rather than a season of gratitude? Or perhaps “in addition to” is better said.
Our lives are in limbo.
Our country is in limbo.
While beauty surrounds us, disappointment seems to continuously lurk in the shadows, striking at will.
Where the sick people used to be resigned to those on the news, now they’re our friends and family members.
We’re tired of watching the pain expressed on our children’s faces as we tell them (again), “No. We can’t. It’s been canceled.”
We seem to be continuously bracing ourselves for the next wave of bad news.
Yesterday I went for a walk. In my ears, the melodies streaming from the music box; stories reminding me of the Lord’s goodness.
The crisp, cold air burned my lungs. It felt familiar and good, like an old friend whose embrace I hadn’t felt in months.
The early morning sun sprawled my long shadow across the grass. It made me feel taller. I pushed my shoulders back.
The crunch of the leaves underneath my feet, the sounds of birds flirting with each other, the hope of a new day lying open before me…all these things filled my heart with the knowledge of the goodness of God.
Yet, as I walked, surrounded by loveliness and goodness and truth, I realized just how sad I was.
I realized that, while my heart held fast to gratitude for a bounty of blessings, my soul was resting in a season of grief. Not depression, but lamenting.
And I felt, strangely, as though that was okay.
“Wait, Lord,” I asked. “Aren’t I supposed to shrug off this sadness? Aren’t I supposed to buck up and put on a happy face? ’Tis the season of thanksgiving, after all. I’m supposed to have an “attitude of gratitude.” I can’t be content being sad. Can I?”
Then He answered me. From the melody of the music box, as if on cue, came His gentle reminder that it’s okay if I’m not always okay.
Do you remember how Mary was grieving? How you wept and she fell at your feet? Well, if it’s true that you know what I’m feeling, Could it be that you’re weeping with me?
Unexpected tears welled up in my eyes.
Oh, if only I had worn sunglasses.
The words continued.
Well, it’s so hard to know what you’re doing, So why won’t you tell it all plain? But you said you’d come back on the third day, And Peter missed it again and again.
So maybe the answer surrounds us, But we don’t have eyes to see That you’re always good, always good. This heartache is moving me closer than joy ever could. And you’re always good.
Perhaps you’re like me. Perhaps in this season of Thanksgiving, while acknowledging all there is to be thankful for, deep down your heart is grieving.
We’ve all experienced loss this year.
Loss of expectations.
Loss of control.
Loss of fellowship.
Loss of the ability to move freely about our lives.
Loss of the ability to wrap our arms around the necks of those we love so dearly.
Loss of normalcy.
I think I’m supposed to tell you today that it’s good to grieve.
We can still be thankful, but there’s nothing wrong with allowing ourselves to acknowledge our sadness.
It’s alright to shake our fists at the sky.
It’s necessary to confess our weariness.
It’s okay to walk down the street with tears in our eyes and say, “Lord, what are you doing? How much longer? I don’t understand this.”
Because more often than not, sorrow and heartache are the things that move us closer to the heart of God.
No one knows this more than those who have felt deep despair.
To be aware that the Lord weeps with us in our pain is one of the most joyful truths we can know.
If you’re sad today, know you’re not alone.
The Lord is by your side.
He doesn’t need you to put on a happy face.
He simply asks that you rest in Him.
My God, my God, be near me. There’s nowhere else go. And Lord, if you can hear me, Please help your child to know That you’re always good, always good.
As we try to believe what is not meant to be understood, Will you help us to trust your intentions for us are still good? ‘Cause you laid down your life and you suffered like I never could. And you’re always good, always good, you’re always good. (Andrew Peterson)