Although Thanksgiving is still more than five weeks away, it is never too early to think about being thankful. The subject of thankfulness has, in fact, been on my mind a great deal in recent months.
I began reading a book over the summer that challenges the reader to list the things for which they are thankful, with a goal of finding 1,000 reasons to give thanks. Determining to accept the challenge, I began my list. I am thankful for children and grandchildren, for family and friends, for health and prosperity, for opportunities and successes, for love and laughter. My list goes on and on, for I am very blessed.
We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in all things, not just the good things, so I tried to add some less-desirable items to my list. However, I struggled to find an attitude of thankfulness in the midst of difficulties.
Soon after, I was given the opportunity to see what it truly means to “give thanks in all situations” during a conversation with a client at CarePoint. The woman I was speaking with had come with her family from Nigeria to the United States in order for her daughter to receive life-saving surgery for a brain tumor. The daughter had undergone two surgeries to remove the tumor. Complications had led to additional physical and psychological problems, requiring the mother to be on alert and to provide care 24-hours a day. To further complicate matters, the parents have no means to support the family as they wait for approval to work in the United States.
As I ended our conversation, I asked the mom how I could best pray for her and her family. She responded that she did not want to ask the Lord for anything, because He had been so good to them, but only to offer thanks for giving her and her daughter a full night’s rest for the first time since the surgeries.
I pray that I might have a heart of gratitude like that mother, that I might learn what she knows; how to give thanks in all circumstances.
Pastor's Reading List