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So much deaths! So much destructions! Are there any Reasons to Give Thanks?

Thanksgiving day was institutionalized by the pilgrims and puritans who immigrate from England to the USA in the 1620’s and 1630’s. They selected a special day to celebrate a harvest feast after a successful season of the crop.

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth Massachuseetts. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914, Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth Massachusetts. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Since 1863, Thanksgiving day became a holiday in the USA on the fourth Thursday in November. It is a day of feasting to give thanks and praise to God for His many blessings. Other western countries such as Canada also adopted this holiday.

Today is another Thanksgiving Day, but for many people they have suffered more pain, tears and heartaches than blessings so why should they give thanks?

Nevertheless, the Bible tells us that we should give thanks in everything, not just the good times but the bad times as well (Philippians 4:6). No one wants trouble, but they are part of our lives, so the Lord assured us that He is our refuge and strength, a present help in times of troubles (Psalms 46:1).

Therefore, there is a blessing in the midst of the trials and we ought to search for it until we find it. Then you will be able to give thanks.

Let us remind ourselves of some of the tragedies that happened in 2015 and see if we can find any good within.

My search on the web for all the disasters of 2015 led me to the website world disaster timeline. I was overwhelmed when I saw the amount of tragedies that happen so far this year. It proved that we are indeed living in the latter days.

The year 2014 ended with the grim news that an Asian airline flight QZ8501 crashed in the Java Sea killing all 162 passengers and crew on December 28, 2014. Hence, the new year began with a frantic search for the missing planes and bodies.

By January 22, 2015, the search parties were able to recover most parts of the plane and 53 bodies. They also discovered that the plane crashed because it was ascending too fast and it stalled.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, there was sixteen (16) plane crashes with fourteen (14) or more passengers since the start of the year with five hundred and sixty-three (563) fatalities.

Earthquake in Nepal. Image courtesy of BBC news

Earthquake in Nepal. Image courtesy of BBC News

By the middle of the year in the month of April, there were, even more, disasters such as the capsizing of a ferry in Libya drowning hundreds of people on April 14, 2015. Then a few days later, there was a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal that killed over 8000 people and thousands injured. There were also thousands of people left homeless and destitute with millions of dollars in damages.

Fast forward to October of this year and the world heard the tragic news of a Russian Airbus A-321 that crashed killing Two hundred and twenty-four (224) people on board. After a thorough investigation, it was discovered that terrorists bombed the airplane.

On Friday, November 13, 2015, the western nations reeled in shock when we heard the horrific news that terrorists launched another attack in France near the capital killing one hundred and twenty-nine (129) innocent people.

The President of France immediately retaliated and launched military assaults on ISIS targets in Syria. The authorities in France have identified and named at least five of the terrorist suspects. They even recovered a cell phone used by one of the attackers at the crime site.

On Wednesday, November 17, 2015, the French police raided an apartment and killed the ringleader of the Paris attack along with his female cousin.

The French police are searching intensely for one of the suspects who escaped. They also found a stockpile of weapons in one of the killer’s getaway car.

It is clear that the government of France is working hard to find and root out gangsters and their associates with the hope of giving peace to the grief-stricken relative and friends of the victims; and a sense of safety to all the people of France.

However, this atrocity revealed the resilience of the population of France. They refused to cower in fear or give credit to the enemy. Instead, they called for unity and forgiveness. They even find humor amidst their pain.

In the wake of the French attack, many people discovered that a Kenyan university was also attacked by a militant terrorist group – Al-Shabaab and killed one hundred and forty-seven (147) people mostly students and wounded many on April 2, 2015. Although the CNN covered the news, it was without the extended coverage and worldwide attention that the France massacre received.

A terrified Kenyan student helped by a soldier. Image courtesy of BBC News.com

A terrified Kenyan student helped by a soldier. Image courtesy of BBC News.com

The meager coverage is unfortunate because it shows how skewed the world is, but as a result, of the Paris attack, more people including myself have become aware of the horrific attack in Kenya.

Perhaps if other countries had taken the attack in Kenya seriously and increased their security and other measures, the planned attack in France would have been discovered before it happens. Sometimes only when the calamity is close to home do we take it seriously.

According to the Wikipedia.org, there have been approximately two hundred and ninety-eight terrorist’s attacks worldwide since the beginning of 2015 to November 20, 2015. The latest terrorist attack was in Mali on November 20, 2015, where a terrorist group affiliated with al- Qaeda stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako killing twenty patrons.

The tragedy in France I am sure will produce worldwide attention to the seriousness of the war that we are facing. I hope that there will be more research on these militant groups.

It should be recognized that irrespective of the location of the terrorist’s organizations, they shared the same ideology and goal. Their aim is to steal, kill and destroy innocent people which is similar to the objective of their god (Satan) that they served. (John 10:10)

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Christ purpose is to give us a full life. Only when we acknowledge His presence in our lives, we can identify the good in the midst of the tragedy.

Some of the positive things that usually arise from these tragedies are the uniting of family and friends as they support and comfort each other.

Many non-profit organizations were born out of tragic circumstances. One of these includes ACCESS – AirCraft Casualty Emotional Support Services, founded by Heidi Snow, who lost her friend on July 17, 1996, in the TWA Flight 800 air disaster. They provided support to many individuals who are grieving over the loss of their loved ones in tragic situations.

Many of these grief-stricken people discovered that when you harbor hatred and unforgiveness in your heart towards oppressors and murderers, you are in essence giving them a gift while you are destroying your mind. It is better to release the hate, anger, and fear and receive the love of God which is able to heal and restore you.

After major natural disasters, many countries rallied to support and give generously their help and finances to the affected country.

If you are grieving, depress or fearful, you can find peace and comfort when you decide to release the anger and resentment from your heart and receive the love and power from God to forgive those who wronged you.

It is only then you will discover how blessed you are to rise above your storms and give thanks to God.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Note also that Thanksgiving is a sacrifice because there are many times that you will not see any reasons to give thanks but when you sacrifice your pain and anger and show gratitude to God, He will honor you.

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all my readers, writers and supporters of this blog. May God continue to bless and keep you. May His face shines upon you and give you peace.

Additional resources: Red Cross; Wikipedia.org

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