“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
The Thanksgiving edition of this column is usually an attempt to have people see that Thanksgiving had changed from a day of thankfulness to God to “Turkey Day” surrounded by materialism. Hopefully, this would influence people to start looking at the blessings God has given them instead of looking toward the best Black Friday specials.
However, a while ago, I decided not to go in that direction this year. Until this morning, my thought was not to write about Thanksgiving at all. However, I rose from bed with a desire in my heart to write about the things I am thankful for.
In no particular order, here is my Thanksgiving list.
The one thanks that has been at the forefront of my mind most recently is my wife.
This year, we went through the most significant health scare we have ever faced. We both tested positive for COVID-19 on the same day. A few days later, Julie goes into the hospital on the eve of our 43rd wedding anniversary. Unable to be there with her and suffering from COVID-19 myself, I would call the nurse in the wee hours of the morning to discuss Julie’s condition. God bless them; the nurses would use hopeful wording while describing that the situation was not all that good.
Julie is the most loving and caring person I have ever met. I thank God for her. She may not be perfect, but she is perfect for me, and God knew that.
In little more than a week, Julie came home from the hospital. We are three months past our positive test, and we are still recovering. The doctors tell us, Julie may be oxygen for the rest of her life. She is improving, and we are hopeful to have her removed from oxygen by the end of the year. We will see; it is in God’s hands.
I am ever thankful to God for the one He chose to travel through this life with me.
I am thankful for my kids (ages 36-42). Since COVID-19, I have seen a greater appreciation in my children for their mom. Not that they were unappreciative before, but there are more phone calls and surprise visits than before.
I do not know how I would have made it through our COVID-19 scare without them. Our youngest, who tested positive the same day as Julie and I, rose from her sickbed every day and came to my house. The thought was since she had it as well, I could not pass it on to her, and someone needed to check up on me. The others called every day and throughout the ordeal brought food and other items, left them on the porch, knocked, and ran away. Our youngest son, who is in the medical field, would talk to the nurses and doctors about Julie, then interpret for the rest of us.
My kids have brought tens of thousands of blessings through the years, but this year they stepped up, and the love they have for us shines without measure.
Next on my thankful list is my grandchildren. We have fourteen of them ranging in ages from eight to twenty-one. There may be no greater joy on earth than to hear those words, “Hi Papa!” Several are adults; most are teens. Only one is in elementary school. They are getting older, and the pitter patter of little feet is slowly changing to the sound of a knocking engine, but as each day passes, it is a blessing to watch them grow.
I am also thankful for my church family. They have always prayed for me. I have been at Countryside for twenty-six years, and a Pastor could not ask for a better congregation. They also have stepped up during our COVID-19 time. Several members have taken over in tasks Julie, and I have done for years, lifting physical and mental burdens. I cannot thank them enough.
Last but not least, I am thankful for my God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Without Him, my life would be in chaos. I am a sinner. Through His sacrifice on the cross, I have redemption, justification, and salvation from my sins. His guidance keeps my life in order. Like everyone else, I continue to sin, but His influence does help keep it to a minimum. Therefore, the consequences that sin will always drag along with it do not fill my life. Please do not get me wrong; I am not some super-Christian. Any good that I have is directly from Him. He is my sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30).
As you read through my list of thanks, you probably noticed that COVID-19 enhanced many of the things for which I am thankful. Sometimes it takes some bad times to recognize the blessings of the good times.
Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”