Nothing is beyond Him
I would love to be able to ask those women about that celebration. What was it like? How did they give thanks in the midst of such hardship and heartache? Given that they were committed followers of Christ, I think their answer might have been along the lines of what Paul shares in the next section of Romans 8, verses 26 through 30.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
You see, there are some situations in life that are beyond words. They highlight our weaknesses, and we feel helpless to pray, to even know what to pray for. But "in the same way" - in the same way that the Spirit reassures us that we are God's children, when all we can see is darkness, in the same way that He fills our minds with life and peace, because of Jesus - in that same way He searches our hearts and prays for us, always according to God's will. All we need to do is let him.
Then there are other situations (sometimes the same ones) that are beyond our comprehension. They make us question everything we have ever believed in, even the love and goodness of God Himself. I know, because I did, in the darkest days after losing Naomi. I questioned how God's goodness could allow Him to let such tragedies happen to His children. And if someone had quoted Romans 8:28 to me at that time, I would have been furious. But that does not negate the truth that God is good, and that God works in all things for the good of His children - the ultimate good being that we be more and more conformed to the image of the Savior who gave His live for us - more reflective of His love, His walk, His response to God in the face of terrible suffering. And looking back on the last five years, I can absolutely see God at work, from the earliest days when I was tempted to shut Him out completely until now.
My Thanksgiving praise today is that nothing is beyond God's ability to use and to redeem. Like the hope of redemption, believing this is an act of faith because when your loss is all you can see, anything good coming from it feels like a slap in the face. But beloved, God is good. He was good at Creation, He was good when Jesus was on the cross, He was good when the Mayflower passengers went through the worst winter of their lives, and He was good when your Good Friday happened. And in your worst of circumstances, He is at work for good. I pray that today, on Thanksgiving, you can catch a glimpse of that truth and respond with trust that He can and will carry you through the holiday season. Because He can, and He will, I promise.
Blessed Thanksgiving, dear one.