It was a long road, wasn’t it? Uphill with the wind in your face. Step by step in unbearable heat. And that was before you got to the mountainous part. That’s when the path became steep and treacherous. You felt overwhelmed and desperate. You carried fear on your back. It seemed hopeless. Perhaps you can identify with the character, Christian from the book, Pilgrim’s Progress.
His journey is one that most of us travel. He and his friend, Hopeful, are going through a rough part of the journey where there’s suffering. Then one evening they come to a fork in the road and discover an easier way to the right. So they take that path and that night, they fall asleep in a place called Bypath Meadow, feeling happy and satisfied. They have no idea it is the land of the Giant Despair. The next morning he awakens them with loud accusations of trespassing and takes them to his castle by force. He is a brute and once they arrive, the Giant beats them and locks them in the dungeon. The next morning, He enters the dark and cold prison and beats them again. He tells them to give up. And. He. Does. This. Every. Single. Morning.
Perhaps the challenges of your life have been enormous, even overwhelming. You’ve felt desperate. Perhaps even like Job, you’ve cursed the day you were born. Your soul has been assailed by the Giant Despair. Every morning he has beat your soul until it was bruised and bloody. You wondered, “Is there an end to this road? A rest stop maybe?” You hated that mountain, that long road, the evil giant and that dark night.
But look at you today. Here you stand – stronger, resilient, more confident, and courageous.
A deeper faith, a wider love with an aroma of grace surrounding you.
Compassion has become you.
The blood you’ve shed has been costly.
The wounds have become scars and the scars are reminders of the battles you fought. Some you won. Some you lost. But still, Here you stand.
So be thankful –
That you fought the battles.
That you climbed the hills.
That you ran the race.
And as a result, those dark and difficult seasons of life have transformed you. You can be thankful for the mountains, the giants and the struggles. They’ve made you who you are. They’ve made you more than you were.
I’ve appreciated the words of Fleming Rutledge on numerous occasions,
The life of thankfulness is lived in view of the hard things of existence. As the life of thanksgiving deepens, we discover that the more mature prayers of thanks are not offered for the obvious blessings, but those spoken in gratitude for obstacles overcome, insights gained, lessons learned, increased humility, help received in time of need, strength to persevere, opportunities to serve others.
Look at you now – a clearer vision, greater strength, deeper faith, confident hope and a most powerful love. You’ve become more. So be thankful. GOD has brought you through and He will get you home.