Pain makes us stronger: don't let the holidays be bleak

by Mike Dvorak

Greetings to all. Here we are at the end of November and another Thanksgiving is has arrived. Some will look around and wonder what there is to be thankful for while others will look back at the year 2021 and know they have been blessed.

So, which are you?

It is sometimes hard to be thankful but we should always look on the bright side and praise God. The past two years have been a challenge. Sickness, elections, wars and rumors of war, it is tough to always be positive, and be thankful.

There are many reasons we could give up and be negative. There are many people who would, and do, support the negativity that many people feel.

Don’t be one of those people. Don’t be an enabler of those who want to have a pity party. Look on the bright side of all situations and look for the good. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 8, verse 28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose”.

That verse is a constant reminder to me that the things I encounter, the ups and downs in my life, serve a purpose. It is a reminder that no one has a perfect life on this earth. We have many good things come our way, but we also will have hurts, disappointments, and discouragements in our lives.

The verse is a reminder that our trials and tribulations can make us stronger. As I think of all the things that I have encountered not only this past year but also in my entire life, I can see how blessed I am. I am thankful for all that God has allowed me to experience, both the good and the hurtful.

About now you are probably thinking “What is wrong with this guy?”. I assure I am somewhat normal (I think) and all is well. I also assure you that because of all the things I have encountered in my life, I can relate to many of the the victories and defeats you have in your lives. It is one thing to read about someone and have sympathy for them, but it is quite different to have experienced the same thing as them and have empathy. In other words, because of common experiences we share common feelings.

It is at the point of sharing that we find common ground. For example, I can tell you about my experiences of feeding cattle in a blizzard. I can explain how miserable it was and how hard it was to get the feed and hay out to cows that you can barely see.

If YOU have never done that, then you have no idea how miserable the cold was, how biting the north wind was, and how thankful you would be at the end of the day when everything was taken care of.

Yes, you can hear the stories but I assure you it is not the same as the experience. The same principle holds true for other things in our lives.

I have experienced the loss of loved ones to death, and although it was not pleasant, i can share in the hurt of others when they lose friends and family. I have experienced the joy of the birth of my children and grandchildren and I know how special that is when you have those same happy events in your life. Sharing and caring, through the good and hard times, that’s what makes us better people.

About 2100 years ago, Jesus came to Earth, this place we live.

Jesus came as man, he walked on it like we do, he loved family and friends like we do, and he hurt like we do.

The gospel of John, chapter 11, verse 35, says “Jesus wept”. It is one of three times mentioned in the Bible when Jesus shed tears. That tells me that Jesus knows what we are experiencing everyday.

He didn’t read about it, or see it somewhere, he lived it. He knows. During this time of giving thanks, let’s be thankful that we have a savior, Jesus Christ, who loves us.

He loves us so much that he came and experienced everything we experience. He loves us so much that he died on a cross for us so that we can have victory over death just like he did. He loves us so much that all we have to do is ask Him into our lives as our Lord and Savior, and all of our sins will be forgiven and we will spend an eternity with Him in Heaven.

Yes, we have much to be thankful for. Let your holidays be filled with joy and blessings, peace and comfort, because Jesus is in charge and watching over us. Mercy and grace to all.