Over and again, the church has offered thanksgiving even during overwhelmingly difficult circumstances. Many psalms of lament–psalms that give utterance to despair and deep sorrow–end with thanksgiving.
Truly, the presence of pain can at times make even the thought of thanksgiving untenable. Absolute despondency can be there in suffering. Who can give unfettered thanks in the midst of sudden illness, sudden death?
Christ knew the feeling of utter hopelessness in the face of powerful, unmitigated evil. His thanksgiving? It didn’t carry enthusiastic joy. It wasn’t an energetic hymn of praise. Christ gave thanks in the quiet but powerful trust he embodied even in his dying: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
We give the deepest thanks as we commend our lives over to God even when ends seem certain.
This message is an excerpt from “Thanksgiving for lament” by Karen Bates Olson in the November 2018 issue of Gather magazine.
Do you enjoy these free Daily Grace messages? If so, donate now to further the ministry. Use the “where needed most” line.