Many years ago, I sat in a blue recliner, wracked in pain. My body, overcome by Lyme Disease, caused excruciating pain in my entire body. My clothes felt like sandpaper against my skin. My nail beds felt like someone was pulling my nails away from my fingers. My joints were inflamed, the vascular system in my head was inflamed. My tongue would not work properly. My gums were bleeding and swollen and my teeth felt like they were going to fall out of my mouth. My eyes could not focus and light acted like a sword piercing into my brain through my them. Sound was like a gong going off just 6” from my head. My stomach was burning due to the 2-6 hours of daily drip of IV antibiotics. My intestines were cramping due to the nonstop diarrhea. There was no place I could go in my own body that wasn’t screaming at me. There was no escaping me.
My Bible study teacher stopped by for a short visit. She gently held my hand and encouraged me to find reason to give thanks to protect my soul from becoming bitter during this season of suffering. I told her I had nothing to give thanks for. She sat up straight and said:
“Cheryl, if all you have to give thanks for is that God saved your sorry soul, that is thanks enough.”
I had a choice in that moment.
My flesh was angry at her, but my soul knew what she said was right and good. After she left, I began the discipline of finding reason to give thanks which, to this day, remains true in my life. I don’t need a gratitude journal. I don’t wait until the month of November to practice Thanksgiving. It is a daily deal for me – more important than food or air – for my stamina to live in this world and do the Father’s bidding. Gratitude carried me through my suffering, preserving my hope. Gratitude carries me through my more carefree times, keeping me connected to Him. Gratitude carries me through my highly successful moments, keeping me humble and lowly.
My Lyme doctor told me many years that my faith healed me – not the medicine or him as the treating physician. To this day, I believe that my Bible teacher’s instruction on gratitude was the medicine needed to heal an ailing heart, suffering under the weight of the illness. God does indeed understand what we need. Throughout the scriptures, He instructs us to practice thanksgiving. Even as we go to Him with our needs, we are instructed to do so “with thanksgiving” as we make our requests known to Him.
This practice of thankfulness will guide and instruct through all seasons of life. In both the days of plenty and the days of great need, your soul will rest securely. This then is part of the blessed life in the Promised Land. Not that we always have feasting on the finest of the land. Even if only a morsel to share yet there is a spirit of generosity in the hearts of those around the table born out of that mysterious practice of thanksgiving which yields a harvest of joy in all seasons of life – those of plenty and those of want.
I pray, that this Thanksgiving, you are able to sit at the seat of His bounty, no matter what is set on the table and who is seated at the table. May that bounty of love cause life to spring forth from a heart that knows it is forgiven and that it is loved.
You are His beloved. That is reason enough to give thanks.
Founder – Promised Land Living