As I reflect on this practice, I am reminded of a house church pastor in China who started a service by asking each person to tell what their wounds for Christ were that week. Each person shared how they had endured some form of suffering because of their allegiance to Jesus. After this was completed, the pastor led them all in worship as they sang songs of praise and thanksgiving to God for His faithfulness.
I do not tell you this to make you feel any sort of guilt for the times of thanksgiving you have enjoyed in past years. However, I do hope to raise your awareness of the faithfulness of God in the midst of circumstances in which we don’t naturally give thanks.
This Thanksgiving, do take the time to ask your family and loved ones what they are thankful for. But I also encourage you to ask what their wounds for Christ are. For many of us, this may be difficult to answer, but it is a question we need to ponder. Instead of being thankful that we have not had to endure hardship for the sake of Christ in our country, should we not feel some uneasiness over that? Are we free from hardship because we have chosen to keep our faith private, not willing to risk a date with the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3)? And if so, is that really something to be thankful for?
May we, like the house church pastor in China, know the complete faithfulness of God as we seek to live for Him in whatever circumstances we are called to minister.