25: Being Thankful

25: Being Thankful

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

Being Thankful

By Marilyn Turk

… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

~1 Thessalonians 5:18

“I’m sorry, but we’ve decided to give the position to another candidate.” Those too-familiar words echoed through my mind as I set down the phone.

Another door closed. It had been more than a year since my company merged and I was laid off. At first, I was confident that twenty-five years of experience with the same employer would land me another job easily. However, the months dragged on, and the severance pay and the unemployment compensation ran out, forcing me to withdraw from my 401(k) to pay bills. I applied for every position available in my field. Still, no job offer. Every glimmer of hope dissolved into tears of disappointment. Daily, I appealed to God, asking for guidance and searching the Bible for answers. I desperately tried to hold onto hope and trust God to take care of me, but the future looked bleak. My prayers seemed to be unheard. At the age of fifty, I was no longer a desirable candidate, since a younger person could be trained for half my former income. I felt as if God had written me off like everyone else, and I was no longer necessary to society, other than my creditors.

A friend asked me if I would consider moving because, as an empty-nester, I didn’t need a big house. I was willing to make sacrifices, but giving up my house was not one of them. My home was my last bastion of security, an answer to prayer ten years before. I couldn’t believe God would want me to move. This was the home where I would live in my old age, where my future grandchildren would visit.

One day, I came across the Bible verse, “… give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). How could I do that? How could I be thankful for losing my job, running out of money, and possibly losing even more? To say I was thankful for these things would be hypocritical.

Then it occurred to me to thank God for what I had been given. I could thank God for my former career — the experience I had gained, the people I’d met and places I’d been. I thanked God for the home He had given me to raise my children and for the memories we had shared there. Then I realized God had given me the home when I needed it, and it had served its purpose. I had trusted Him with my past; therefore, I could trust Him with my future.

Being thankful allowed me to let go and opened my mind to other possibilities, even if it meant moving. Once I decided I was willing to move, I had three different job offers in other states. It’s been more than six years since I moved. I love my new home, and God has blessed me beyond my expectations. I now know how to be thankful “in all circumstances.”

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