Thankful for this trial

As you tell God all the things you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving, is your present trial on that list? It is in times of hardship that we undergo significant transformation within ourselves for the better. And that is the greatest blessing of all — to be conformed to the image of Christ. Romans 12:1-2.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:7-11 (niv)

One of the missionary women the Lord led me to mentor came over weekly for counseling and prayer. But on this occasion, just a few days before Thanksgiving, she came angry.

Her family had planned to spend the holiday with close friends, but she had just found out a certain missionary woman she didn’t like would be there also.

“She’ll ruin it!” my friend vented, pacing the room, and spouting off a tirade of things she didn’t like about the other woman.

Just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Only what God says is true. If your eyes are on your problem, rather than how big your God is; or if your eyes are on how people aren’t doing what you want them to, then you’re looking in the wrong direction.

As I put on soft worship music in the background to help my friend shift her thoughts, I encouraged her to lay down her opinions and ideas about that woman at Jesus’ feet; and then ask Him for His. What does Jesus say about her? That’s what really matters. Only He knows a heart, and only He knew what He was doing when she was invited to Thanksgiving dinner.

A few moments later, my friend looked up, tears glistening in her eyes. “God showed me her pain. She’s been through so much. I can’t wait to put my arms around her and tell her I love her, and Jesus does too!”

In just a few minutes, the Lord had transformed bitterness into joy, anger into love … by giving her His viewpoint and plan.

The enemy had arranged a nasty dissension feast for Thanksgiving that year, but the Lord overcame it with His purposes, and gave those families one of the most beautiful holiday celebrations they would ever know.

The key is surrender. When we lay down our expectations, desires, opinions, judgments, plans, and agendas to ask God for His, He makes something beautiful of what the enemy purposed for evil. Romans 8:28. Especially within us.

What are you facing during the upcoming holidays? Is there anything you’re dreading about the next few weeks? A situation you’d rather avoid?

Lay down your schedule before the Lord, and let Him arrange it the way He desires. Forgive those you hold grudges against, and ask the Lord how you can be a blessing in others’ lives — a channel of love to draw those around you closer to Him and each other.

Don’t waste this trial. Look for what God’s doing, and follow Him there!

If you’d like a deep devotional Bible study to help you remove the barriers to oneness with Christ and others; or if you’re looking for transformational gifts for your loved ones this holiday season, visit MoreThanAConquerorBooks.com. Some suggestions below:

Delight to Be a Woman of Wonder (for her), and Dare to Be a Mighty Warrior (for him): Deep devotional Bible studies with practical, tactical strategies for overcoming the enemy in the battlefield of the mind, and walking as one with Christ and others
Dare to Be a Man of God, and Delight to Be a Woman of God: Deep Bible study workbooks on listening to God, following His lead, overcoming lies with truth, and loving others well
The Chronicles of the Kingdom of Light Christian fantasy series for older children and teens, to help them listen to God, follow His lead, forgive, fight for what matters most, overcome lies with truth, and break free from pride, fear, and other strongholds.
Book 1: Rescue from Darkness, and Book 2: Sands of Surrender.
I Want to See Jesus! (beginning reader)
Out You Go, Fear! (steps to freedom from fear for ages 4-8)
I Want a Horse! (for ages 4-8, when you want something so badly it’s all you can dream about)