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Find thanks in all things, even challenges

This time of year, we think of thankfulness and gift-giving. So, I’d like to discuss that topic today as we consider giving our thankfulness to others.

In 1993, Robert Greene was severely injured in a head-on traffic collision. He spent weeks in a coma and over a year in rehabilitation before he was able to leave the hospital. During this grueling, painful time, Robert wrote a wonderful letter to his mother, Anita, listing 10 different reasons he had to be thankful for his situation.  

Reason #3 to be thankful: “I have good strength in my arms. This helps me to move with the wheelchair and helps me to walk with the crutches.” Reason # 6: “… nearly everything I have experienced has been a value and support to me. “Reason # 10: “I am thankful for the future which holds not a promise but a challenge and an opportunity.”  

Thankful that he can get around on a wheelchair and crutches. Thankful for months of rehabilitation. This seems crazy. But we can thankful in all things. Rather than cursing God he was thanking God for what he did have.

Another illustration comes from Dr. C. Thomas Hilton. He tells about a British housekeeper who became quite ill and entered the hospital for a treatment. While there, she befriended Johnny, a little boy with a terminal illness. One day, Johnny’s mother burst into the housekeeper’s room with the news that Johnny would not survive the day. Would the Housekeeper please come and talk to him? The housekeeper went quickly to the room and she shared in a loving way that ‘God made you. God loves you. God sent his son to save you. Dad wants to come and bring you home to him.’ After a moment of silence, Johnny said quietly, say it again. So, the housekeeper repeated her words. And with the strength that he could muster, Johnny leaned forward and said, ‘Tell God Thank You.’

We too need to be ready to give the gift of our Thank You. We read in Philippians 4: 6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your request to God.”  

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus.

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