“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Lately, I have enjoyed seeing the thankful posts circulating on Facebook. Have you noticed them too? It seems that several of my fellow Facebook friends have taken a “challenge” this month to list something they are thankful for every day. After all, it is November and we are in the midst of the Thanksgiving season.
Somehow, Facebook forgot to send me the memo for the thankful challenge; however, it really got me pondering the verse to “be thankful in all circumstances.” All? All circumstances! Really?
Can you hear it? “BE thankful in ALL circumstances.” There it is. God says it so it sounds like a rule or something, doesn’t it? A.L.L. things…. B.E. YE thankful!
Ugggggggh! But that.is.so.hard! Isn’t it? All things. All circumstances! I have to admit that I really, I mean really struggle with this, don’t you?
Sure, I get that I am supposed to be thankful for all of our blessings, for each of the gifts I have been privileged to have and recognize. Sure, I even find the blessings to be thankful in the daily, little, oddities that keep me rejoicing and grateful for each sunset. I get it. And, am I ever thankful!
I am surely the first to be thankful for the successes of all of my children. We celebrate their achievements; each “A” on a report card; each soccer game; joining Cub Scouts; each gymnastics performance. We express gratitude for their accomplishments; their opportunities at work and school; their daily spark and positive go-get-‘em attitudes! You know what? We celebrate and rejoice each and every day to the point that a loss tooth, first ball kick, even new freckle brings a smile to my face and a glance towards God’s heaven in gratitude for His blessings.
But A.L.L. things? Sure, I understand that there are things in the world that are tough to understand; like hungry and abused children, poverty, joblessness, or even war. But this verse… it tells me to be thankful for this? Other than the lessons we learn from the bad things in the world, it is just plain hard to be thankful for the bad stuff too, isn’t it?
All things? Yes, all. Even when after finally completing our family, the terrible and debilitating news that we will be challenged to live with a serious chronic illness called Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain for which there is no cure.
Parkinson’s Disease involves a range of symptoms, mostly “ movement-related, including shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait. Later, cognitive and behavioral problems arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep and emotional problems. PD is more common in the elderly with most cases occurring after the age of 50.”
Not so much to look forward to, is it? My husband, Dan, was diagnosed with “PD” at the ripe old age of 49. Yes, 49 with young children at home and a successful career as an environmental engineer.
In “all circumstances, give thanks”?
Okay. So, now that my husband is unemployed; mounting medical expenses; appealing V.A. benefits for over three years; struggling with pain; sometimes unable to walk; and let’s throw in uncertainty like fear of falling; planning family outings around movement issues; and here are the issues, or should I say “circumstances” that I really struggle with: from the inability to coach soccer for the boys to uncertainty over if he will be able to dance with the girls at their weddings? Or, even this: Will Dan be able to walk our girls down the aisle?
And… to top it all off, I am instructed in the Bible to give thanks for this too?
Yes. Yes, I am.
Next week, I’ll tell you exactly why I AM thankful!
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