Right now, I can trace God’s hand through the steps of my last year or two and whisper praise for all that has fallen into place. And I’m also on the cusp of new things, things that I’m hopeful for, things that I can’t control, things that challenge me to be faithful because I don’t see.
This year, Thanksgiving makes me think back to the first day thanks went up to God from a people who put all their hope in him, and were not disappointed.
On the shore of a new country, wild and unknown, a group of people who cared more for God than for their own comfort were met by a native who just so happened to speak their language, understood their difficulty, respected where they came from… and was willing to help. He had been sold into slavery and ended up in Europe, and just so happened to find favor with God and man and just so happened to be able to return to America and just so happened to be right where the Pilgrims needed him.
Just so happened.
We’ve heard it so many times, but how often do we pause to remember how crazy and unlikely that encounter really was? How often do we stop to remember that years before the Pilgrims even had the idea to come to America, God was already working out their provision?
That’s what thanksgiving started as – glory to God who made a way where there was no way. That thanksgiving stemmed from an understanding of God that I think a lot of us forget.
On the mountain where God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham named that place Jehovah-Jireh. It means God will Provide – literally translated into the God who Sees, the God Who Sees To It.
That was the God of Abraham, who Himself provided the sacrifice for Israel.
That was the God of the Pilgrims, the God who saw them, and saw to it that they were provided for.
That’s still the God we serve.
Our God is always working provision into our lives, long before we can see it, long before we take the step of faith that feels like it could set everything tumbling, long before we trust as radically as he’s been hoping for, planning for all along.
What if the Pilgrims had given up? What if Abraham had turned around? They had everything to lose – maybe we feel like we do, too. But before they saw the promise, they had the same faith that they had after. They gave the same thanks – blessed be the name of the Lord.
Can you imagine how fiercely proud God was?
We often forget that when we give thanks at our own risk, we unlock a promise. God has glory planned, and it’s normally just beyond our perspective – but never beyond our faith.
Abraham, the Pilgrims, you, me… we are seen. We are the beloved. Even when we can’t see it, even when the days look ugly or our hearts are hopeless… we keep our faith because the risk pales in comparison to the reward. God does not let his faith fail. No matter what season you’re in right now…
Your God is Jehovah-Jireh. Your God will provide.
Maybe you are in this place with me – thanking God for what was, and yet anxious-anticipating what will be. Want to join me in this then?
I want to thank God for what he has provided… and I want to thank him in faith for what he will provide, the provision and foresight he has been weaving into our story long before we were even aware of him.
This is what we are thankful for – what we have seen and what we have yet to see. That now, both before and after we see the promise – we can give thanks. Because we are certain of this: we can’t outrun the reckless love of God. And I keep finding this true: “God-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around.”
Happy Thanksgiving, dear friend.
We have much to be grateful for.