Thanksgiving is in two weeks. We all have our rituals.
Turkey cooking and pecan pie baking.
Passing out in a tryptophan-induced food coma.
Vegging on the couch while watching the Cowboys or the Lions lose.
Another admirable Thanksgiving Day ritual is to “count your blessings.” Allow me to put a spin on that. On November 28th, count your curses.
This may sound odd, but Scripture regularly calls us to “recount the wondrous deeds” of God (Ps. 75:1). The wondrous deeds of God always show up in wicked situations. The Psalms usually start with a curse. A place of distress. A miserable state. This is where God flexes his muscle, with "a mighty hand and an outstretched arm."
Psalm 107 is a good example of this. It lists four examples of thanksgiving. They all follow this pattern:
People are in trouble (v. 4,10,17,23).
They cry out and God delivers them (v. 6,13,19,28).
People thank him for his goodness (v. 8,15,21,31).
Notice that thanksgiving happens last in the pattern. The pattern starts with “trouble.” A cursed situation. A desperate state of affairs.
Here’s what this means: You can’t really give thanks – really give thanks – until you look back at the troubles. When you see God deliver you from a curse, then you have a reason to give thanks. Then you really see how good he is. Then you really see the extent of his mercy.
I lost my job, and somehow God took care of us.
I had cancer, and by a miracle of God I’m here.
I was a fool, but God forgave me.
I was hurting, but God healed me.
I was brought low, but God lifted me up.
Do some preparation for November 28th right now. Count your curses: Write a list of troubles that God has seen you through . . .
Thank God for the darkness, for only then did I see that he is the Light.
Thank God for when I was lost, because that was when he found me.
Thank God for the hammer and the furnace, for then I saw God refine me.
Thank God for the trap, the bars, and the prison, for that’s when God freed me.
Thank God for Good Friday, for only then did we get Easter Sunday. Only then was the curse reversed.
It sounds silly, but count your curses. God has come to the wicked places to do wondrous deeds. THANK GOD!