What Loss Taught Me About Joy and Thanksgiving

Last Tuesday, the company working to recover my computer files called. “Come see what we were able to retrieve. We couldn’t save everything.”

I mentally brought each important file before the Lord. “Please save this one and this one,” I prayed.

To have my lost computer data restored would bring me greater joy than I had ever felt having it in the first place. I understood what Jesus meant when he said, “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7 ESV).

It isn’t that Jesus doesn’t appreciate those who walk with Him. He enjoys us deeply. But He yearns for those who are presently lost. To lose even one that He created and died to rescue is heart-breaking.

Jesus told stories of a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son to illustrate the effort we’ll expend to find what is lost and the tremendous joy restoration brings. In the last story, a rebellious son demanded his inheritance and then squandered it in “wild living” in distant places (Luke 15:11-32). When a severe famine came, hunger brought him to his senses. He remembered his father and started home.

His father saw him coming and “ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” The father didn’t even wait to hear his son’s rehearsed confession.

But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Lk. 15:22-24 NIV).

Heaven Celebrates

The hymn “Amazing Grace” says, “I once was lost but now am found.” When our strategies failed to fill our empty souls, we too woke up hungry for more. Our Father noticed and ran to meet us. The angels danced.

The Father sings over His restored children (Zeph. 3:17). But He still longs for those who are lost.

The Father still longs for the children who are lost. Share on X

Family Reunion

Thanksgiving is a time for family reunions. If you’ve wandered away from Jesus, why not return to Him today? He aches for your return.

If you have never invited Jesus into your life, give God a reason to party right now. Simply acknowledge your need for Jesus and receive His forgiveness.

Dear Jesus, I’ve messed up in many ways. I believe You died and rose again for my sins. Please forgive me for all of my wrongs. Come into my life and make me into the the person You want me to be. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer for the first time, let me be the first to welcome you to the family!

Thanksgiving and Joy!

The tech handed me my computer. I clicked the important files I’d asked God to rescue. One by one they opened. I thanked God for each one. It didn’t matter that the formatting was skewed. They were back!

Look around you this Thanksgiving. Who and what do you never want to lose? Maybe, like my files, they need some work. But you’re thankful you have them. We don’t have to lose something to celebrate.

Perhaps someone will be missing from your table. Thank God that He’s still in the business of restoring what is lost. Giving thanks unleashes joy.

Giving thanks releases joy. #Thanksgiving Share on X

Question: What are three things you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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Happy Thanksgiving,

Debbie Wilson

2nd and 3rd Photos by Ambreen Hasan on Unsplash and by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

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  1. Debbie Norred

    I love this story! I too ache for some things I have lost, but your story reminds me that I need to be aware and thankful for the people and things I still have.
    Happy Thanksgiving Debbie. I love your devotionals and Bible Studies. They truly minister to me. Keep doing what you are doing. You are making a difference! God bless you and all your works for him and his kingdom.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Debbie, you are so right. Sometimes it takes discipline to celebrate what we have instead of bemoaning what we’ve lost. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. You’ve made my day!

  2. Ann Musico

    So powerful Debbie and I am so happy you at least got the most important files restored. You said, “We don’t have to lose something to celebrate.” How very true that is! And as for 3 things – it’s hard to distill them down to just 3 but I would have to say being reconciled to the Lord; my wonderful family and friends and my health are my top 3. God bless you and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I echo your 3. Of course we have so many things to be thankful for. I’m thankful God connected us! May you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. Sandy Conklyn

    Dear Debbie,
    I am grateful and so happy that your important files were ” found” and that you have gaind valuable knowledge of how to protect them in the future. I am geateful for the health and well being of family and friends. I am grateful for a recent visit with a friend I hadn’t seen for a lng time, never thinkng she would die within the month.
    I love you lil’ sis, and thank you for sharing your faith and outlook,

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sandy, thanks for your support through this challenge. What a gift you are to me. I’m so glad you were able to be with your friend before she died. I’m sure that was shocking.

      Hoping you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  4. Pam Ecrement

    Dear Friend,
    So grateful to hear there was recovery of the files you most needed. I know this has been a trial for you. Could it be the topic from Hebrews 11 you’ve worked on has been tested and proven in your own life?

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving with you and yours. I count you among my blessings not only at this season, but every day!

    Love and hugs,

    • Debbie Wilson

      Pam, you made me chuckle. God does have a way of making us live our message, doesn’t He? I’m very thankful for you too, my friend. May your family enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  5. Carri Casserino

    Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you day is filled with Turkey and family!

    Love in Him,

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Carri. May you enjoy your Thanksgiving too.

  6. Ellen

    Debbie….what a wonderful testimony of His goodness, grace, and care for you! What The enemy intended for evil, God turned to good! Rejoicing with you and delighted in His answer…what a precious story He has given you to display His Wondrous works! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ellen, the scripture you refer to perfectly describes what God did. What a Savior. Thanks so much for your encouragement. Blessing on your holiday!

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