It is not happy people who are thankful…it is thankful people who are happy!
Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Neh. 8:10
Many of you remember the incredible ordeal our family went through in 2009-2010. Cindy was in ICU for over three months and on Super Bowl Sunday of 2010 the doctors announced that she had no chance for recovery. H1N1 was about to take her life. God had a different plan and we were all blessed as a result. You may also recall that one of my most important messages, Armed…Ready For Battle, came out of that experience. (Click Here if you want to watch)
It was one of those unforgettable moments. I was driving to the hospital on my way to visit Cindy. At this point she had been in ICU for a couple of months and I was doing everything I knew how to do in order to have hope. On this occasion I was losing the battle and went into a period of intense whining. I am a good whiner—some might say even a professional.
In the midst of my complaining the Lord whispered something to me. It was a tender voice that I knew immediately was my precious Lord. He said, Vince, is there anything you might be thankful for? My response was a simple yes. He came right back and said, why don’t you tell Me what they are. He was not going to let me get away with a simple yes.
Talk about a change of thought process and direction. I knew this was from our wonderful Savior—the very Person who holds all of our circumstances in the palm of His hand. I immediately went into a chorus of things I was thankful for—here is a partial list as best as I can remember:
I thank you Lord for:
- The special relationship Cindy and I along with our extended family have with each other and with you
- For two of the best daughters any dad could ever have
- Son-in-laws that love you and extend that love to our daughters and six very special grandchildren
- How you are watching over us and extending a supernatural sense of peace through this process
- The myriad of friends who have, are, and will continue praying for Cindy through this difficulty
- The unusual sacrificial giving we have experienced and that our future in this area is truly in your hands
- The special future you have already planned for us
- Your incredible outpouring through the ministry you have given Cindy and me and the tens of thousands of lives that have been impacted
- Who you are—the GREAT I AM
I am persuaded that our Lord is greatly blessed when we thank Him in the midst of our greatest struggles. It is a powerful idea that takes our focus off of our own pain while at the same time letting Him know how much we love Him. It is not always easy, however. The flesh is very powerful and the enemy of our soul is always right there telling us what a victim we are and how God really isn’t around to help.
What does all of this speak to you during this unusual season? We are experiencing issues and difficulties today no one would have thought possible just a couple of years ago. The ease with which even the most mature believers can lose hope is concerning. Yet hope is exactly what God is calling all of us who call upon Him to have. As we enter this Thanksgiving holiday I cannot think of a more appropriate time for us to be counting our blessings. Perhaps you can make a list like mine above and offer your thanks to the Lord for all He has done in your life.
During this special season let’s read and pray these powerful verses:
1 Thess. 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Col. 3:15 Let the peace (Hope) of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Col. 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Phil. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Cindy and I are sure of one very special thing…we are truly grateful for all of you.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving