“When Suffering Drowns Out Thanksgiving”

This morning I noticed a Facebook update from a friend who is clearly going through a difficult time this Thanksgiving.  For whatever reason, he will not be with his family, and he seems to have some very serious trials looking him in the face.

His status update reminded me that there are many today (Thanksgiving) who are finding it very difficult to be thankful.  Many are suffering today, and many are devastated by trials that appear to be insurmountable.  Some families have loved ones in the military who are serving overseas.  Some are facing extremely serious medical conditions.  Others have just watched their marriages crumble.  Some parents are heartbroken by their children, and many children have been abused or deserted by their parents.

I don’t mean to be a “downer” during this season by mentioning those things.  I do, though, believe this is an important time for those of us who are OK at the moment to reach out to those who are hurting and do what we can to lift them up and encourage them.  I hope we can take a moment to lift our heads from our own turkey and stuffing and take a look around us.  Who do you know who is hurting right now?  Do you know anyone who is alone today?  Do you know anyone who is struggling?  If so, take a moment to send that person a caring text message.  Perhaps invite him/her over for dinner.  Maybe you could offer a meal or offer to take them to a movie.  Do you realize how powerful a caring text message can be to someone who is hurting?  Do you realize what a great blessing you could be today just by placing a phone call to one who is in need or alone?

If we are truly thankful to our Creator today, it seems like that should show up in our actions.

Would you agree?


Are you suffering today?

And let me say this to those of you who are currently experiencing so much pain that you find it difficult to be thankful today.  I have experienced enough severe suffering in my own life that I have learned an critical principle for dealing with crisis:

When you are going through the darkest valleys of life, it is critical that you run TO God and not AWAY from Him.

Also, in the midst of the storm, do not jump off of the Rock.  Cling to the Rock, and do whatever you can to keep your loved ones there with you.

These are not lofty expressions coming from a person who knows nothing of suffering.  Several years ago I lost EVERYTHING. During that time, my faith teetered, and I wondered if I could follow God any longer.  Somehow, God would not allow me to walk away from Him, and now I am so thankful that I did not.

I know what it’s like to experience Thanksgiving alone.  But I am here to tell you that God loves you dearly, and He wants you to come close to Him during this season of darkness.  Run TO Him and not FROM Him.  Cling to the Rock.  Trust Him, and He can restore more than you have ever lost.  I am here to testify that He has done that in my own life, and He can do the same for you!

Chris Russell

Veritas Church (Cincinnati, OH)


For further reading, growth, and encouragement, check out some of these great sites and blogs:

Kirk Cameron

Bible Study Tools Blogs

Desiring God Blog

The Gospel Coalition Blog

Al Mohler


~ by Chris Russell on November 22, 2012.

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