A Shocking Hypothetical
The first “Th(i)nkful” Seminar ever was on October 18, 2015, in North Wilkesboro, NC, where my dear friend, Joanna Chapmon, hosted a ladies’ afternoon. I explained and illustrated the skill and benefits of thinking thanks.
Then came the closing exercise. “Each of you has just been diagnosed with third stage cancer. Now, write down on your 3×5 card three things that you’re thankful for in this difficult situation.” Stunned looks turned to thoughtful stares and slowly they began to write. A few minutes later, we were all blessed by the myriad insights the ladies had in response to this hypothetical difficulty.
Th(i)nkful in Action
Now, let me introduce you to Nancy. She and her husband are walking through a valley of challenge as her husband Mike deals with 4th stage pancreatic cancer. Nancy is an RN working for the Carolina Center for Behavioral Health.
Since they have been our friends for decades, we prayed when the diagnosis came; we prayed through the treatments; we prayed through the good news; we prayed through the bad news.
Recently, when Mike went through a difficult day of surgery, we prayed again. The next morning I woke to read this Facebook post by Nancy:
Thank you Lord for the blessings of this difficult day.
1. The cadre of believers that surrounded me to carry the load and distract me during surgery
2. The folks that brought me bags of snacks
3. The folks that brought me drinks, change for the vending machine and gave of their precious time to encourage me with their presence.
4. Our surgical oncologist Dr. Nguyen who is immensely skilled and so very kind and compassionate.
5. The friends that wanted to come visit and weren’t offended when we ask them to visit us another day.
6. Michael’s OB/GYN who stopped by twice today to check on him ( if you want to know ask)
7. Our sweet nurse Lisa who did everything she could to help Michael be as comfortable and well taken care of as possible. We are thankful she will be his nurse tomorrow too. And NO she WAS NOT PLAYING CARDS!!!
8. So very, very, thankful for our Pastor Mike Hamlet who was with us at 6:30AM during check in and pre-op and then came back this afternoon because we were struggling and needed his comfort and prayers.
9. For all of you reading this who prayed before, during, and after the surgery. We thank God for you. You have lightened our burden and we are so grateful for you!
10. Karin Brown, we are thinkful.❣
Nancy is wisely putting into action being thankful in all circumstances. She is carving the brain neural pathway of looking for things to think thanks about and expressing them.
So, I’m praising God and giving a shout-out to Nancy, saying “well done!” I feel Nancy is miles ahead of me in implementing thankfulness. I know it’s so hard for her, and yet she is choosing to download the grace to winnow through the glass chards of broken hopes to think gratitude. She can do this with confidence because God is trustworthy and sovereign.
Doer of the Word
Are you actively practicing being th(i)nkful – giving thanks in all things? Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). He spoke with authority; the people were astonished. Jesus ended his talk by using a powerful seaside contrast between the wise man and the foolish man. Remember singing about this as a kid?
The wise man and the foolish had both heard the same messenger and the same message in the same presentation. One acknowledged, but the other implemented. The former felt that he knew better and shaped his life accordingly. It was all great until the storm. The wise man’s house stood on boring rock, back from the edge … and did just fine in the storm.
Be careful of the deception that James wrote about … thinking that because we hear something we really own it (James 1:22). To know you should be giving thanks is not the same as doing it. How can you and your family create a habit of being th(i)nkful?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.