THANKSGIVING: IT’S A COMMITMENT, NOT JUST A DAY IN NOVEMBER

“Mom, I’m calling to give you an update: I was just almost killed.”

I hate phone calls like that.

My daughter Molly had just moved to Grand Rapids as the result of a job offer. However, the job fell through just as she was leaving Miami. She immediately started a job search when she arrived in Michigan. Molly was returning from dropping off a resume when she had a close call on the expressway.

She saw something lying on the road in front of her, but it was too late to swerve. She heard a loud crash and waited for something drastic to happen to her car. She pulled off at the first exit, only to find that a four- foot length of steel pipe had pierced her headlight and rammed into her engine compartment.

She said, “Don’t worry, Mom; a nice man followed me off the expressway. He pulled out the pipe and is taping up my battery wires. He said he’ll follow me home to make sure I get there.”

In my mind, I immediately questioned this man’s intentions toward my daughter. I wanted to ask Molly to describe him and give me his license number and the make of his car, but I didn’t want to alarm her on top of her trauma. I just asked she call me when she arrived home.

Molly called shortly after to let me know she was home safely. She said, “And Mom, that man really was a nice man, not a serial killer.” Apparently, I hadn’t concealed my concern as well as I thought I had.

At the time, I was preparing a presentation called, “Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude.” I was inspired by the story of Matthew Henry, noted 17th century scholar. After being accosted by thieves and robbed, he wrote: “I am grateful that although I was robbed, it was the first time. I am grateful that although they took my purse, they did not take my life. I am grateful that although they took my all, it wasn’t much. I am grateful that it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.”

When I applied Henry’s logic to Molly’s situation, it turned what started out to be a bad day into a time of giving praise and thanksgiving to God.

In my presentation, I wrote: “I am grateful that this turn of events with Molly’s job falling through did not take God by surprise – He has a plan for her. I am grateful that although Molly is unemployed, she has skills and is motivated to look for a job. I am grateful that although the pipe broke her headlight, it did not go through the windshield and kill her. I am truly grateful that although I was upset to get this phone call from her, it wasn’t from the State Police informing me that my daughter was in the hospital – or worse. I am grateful that although it will cost her $100 for her deductible, she has car insurance. I am grateful that the man who stopped to help was not a serial killer; he was a Good Samaritan (or a guardian angel) who saw to it that she got home safely. I thank God for His protection and mercy.”

Gratitude doesn’t change our circumstances – it fixes our eyes and our trust on a loving God who has promised to work out all things to our good (Romans 8:29).

How wonderful that we have an official day of thanksgiving in our country…but as believers, let us make a commitment to praise and thank God in all circumstances365 days a year. The Psalmist David did.  He recorded his commitment in Psalm 34:1 (NKJ) – “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

The apostle Paul encourages us to “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).

Even when we can’t honestly thank God for our circumstances, there are three things we can always praise and thank God for: 1.Who He is. 2. What He has done. 3. What He is going to do.

Thanksgiving is a commitment, not just a day in November.

God bless you as you commit to thanking Him in all things. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

1 Comment

  1. Deb
    Nov 22, 2011

    What an encouraging word for me today. I need to remember to find a thankful heart no matter what is happening. Especially love the Matthew Henry quote.

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