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Even in the midst of grief, we can still be thankful

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: Thanksgiving is approaching and I am afraid to face the day because I buried my husband a few weeks ago after 60 years of marriage. All I have are my memories. — C.L.

Dear C.L.: Surrounding grief-stricken hearts with gratitude is a key factor in dealing with sorrow. God does not expect us to be joyful over loss, but He does enable us to be joyful for the blessings He has given.
Even in the midst of grief, we can still be thankful for many things and a thankful heart acts like a soothing balm on our deepest hurts. Though we mourn the loss of loved ones, we can still thank God for the joys that enriched our hearts. It pleases the Lord when His people thank Him “in all things.” The Bible says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
We must not just recall the good times. We must thank Him for giving them to us in the first place. If our loved ones knew Christ as Lord, we can be thankful that we will one day see them again. We must also remember to thank God for being near us. For those who belong to Him, this is a glorious promise. “Be content… for [Jesus] Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
The Lord does not abandon His own and we must look for His purposes in leaving us here in this present life. All around us are people who are experiencing heartache and pain of some kind and they need encouragement. One of the best things we can do is to reach out to others. When we do, we discover thankful hearts.
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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)