Giving Thanks: A Sacrificial Obedience
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I recently heard an interview with Joni Eareckson Tada. At the age of seventeen, she was injured in a diving accident that left her in a quadriplegic state with minimal use of her hands. In an instant her life changed dramatically, she became confined to a wheelchair. In the interview she talked of her struggle in the weeks immediately following the accident. While she was still hospitalized, friends from her church youth group would visit. During a particular visit, a friend was reading to her from 1 Thessalonians. He came to the verse noted above, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Joni, in her pain, balked at the verse. Her friend responded by saying, “It says give thanks, Joni. Not feel thanks.” His words affected her greatly. At the time, she understandably didn’t feel thankful. But this wasn’t a command to feel, it was a command to give an offering of thanks, a sacrificial obedience.
As Thanksgiving week approaches and I reflect on the past year I’m hard-pressed to feel thankful over the loss of a very dear friend, sickness in those I love and care for deeply & the daily difficulties of ordinary life. Yet there is much to give thanks for and it is found in and through the One who commands my thankful giving. So, today I choose to be thankful.
My sweet friend who passed away, kept a running list of sorts, of things for which she was grateful. My list has only existed in the thoughts running through my head until now.
I’m enormously thankful for:
- My God, who loves me flaws & all
- My husband who loves me in spite of those same flaws & weaknesses
- My children who bless me each day with their love, struggles & laughter
- Family who love me
- The blessing of a twenty year friendship with an amazing woman of God, filled with lots of laughter & joy even during difficult times
- A dear friend who chooses to bless me with her friendship and encourages me with her words & love
- My mother’s laughter and her beautiful voice that still sings beauty into my world
- A suitcase filled with treasures from my mom’s life
- Beautiful hand knit mitten ornaments & a snowflake cross
- Snowflakes drifting
- The smell of pine trees
- Starlight, so shockingly bright it’s mesmerizing
- Planning for & anticipating Christmas cookie baking
- Red berries against emerald green holly leaves
- The sound of bells jingling
- A ruby red star candle that smells like Christmas
- Old photos, the black and white sort, that tell of stories untold
In 1979, Joni founded the organization Joni and Friends, through which she and her staff provide spiritual encouragement and practical assistance to those who are disabled and their families. For more information about Joni and Friends visit their website here.
Vintage Wallpaper Graphic from designm.ag