Have you ever noticed that you don’t really truly appreciate something until it’s no longer there? For example, you never start thanking the Lord so much for your health, as when you begin to feel sick. Or how about the fact that a true appreciation for things such as electricity, running water, or heat in your house never come so much into play as when the power goes out or when the gas or water isn’t working.
We experienced just such a thing in our house a few days ago. We were out visiting some ministry friends of ours and we came home in the evening to a freezing house. I thought we had left a window open while being gone, but that was not the case. Somehow our gas tank, which is supposed to be monitored and filled automatically by the gas company, completely slipped through the cracks and we had no gas in our tank. Keep in mind this was on a night when it was literally 1° outside and it was evening time, so it was passed normal business hours.
On top of being gone and needing to unpack, do laundry, and get situated, I had to call the gas company for them to make an “emergency visit” to our home. Our oldest son bundled up all the children in layers of clothing and snuggled them up in our bed to keep warm while Bradlee and I got things situated with the gasman. So, I did what needed to be done still wearing my winter jacket from the car ride while Bradlee worked with the gasman to get our heat back on. Needless to say, we were thankful for our heat once we got it back!
Can you imagine getting up out of your bed tomorrow morning and going downstairs to find your furniture gone? You then proceed to the kitchen to make some breakfast and find that your cupboards are emptied of their food. You then decide to go to your bathroom so you can take a nice warm shower and forget about all that has happened to you and find that the water is not working.
Isn’t it amazing how many things we take for granted without even realizing it? Think about it, you do not have to wake up every morning and go outside to hunt to try to find some food or berries to eat. You can simply go to the grocery store and buy some. Now, your pockets may not be filled with money, but at least you have food on the table to eat while there are millions across the world who are starving. Or how about this? Do you have to fear for your life because you attend a Christian church, own a Bible, or are a true follower of Jesus Christ as other people do in other countries such as Iraq and China?
Do you have both your hands and feet to walk, run, jump, and play with? Talk to anyone sitting in a wheelchair today or an amputee and you will soon count your many blessings. Or how about this, do you have eyes to see with? Ask a blind man or woman what they wouldn’t give in exchange for their sight.
I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the point. We all have a lot to be thankful for. It reminds me of this prayer I once heard:
“Lord, I have a problem. It’s weighing heavy on me. It’s all I can think about, night and day. But before I bring it to you in prayer, I suppose I should pray for those who are less fortunate than me—those in this world who have hardly enough food for this day, and those who don’t have a roof over their heads at night. I also pray for families who have lost loved ones in sudden death, for parents whose children have leukemia, for the many people who are dying of brain tumors, for the hundreds of thousands who are laid waste with other terrible cancers, for people whose bodies have been suddenly shattered in car wrecks, for those who are lying in hospitals with agonizing burns over their bodies, whose faces have been burned beyond recognition.
I pray for people with emphysema, whose eyes fill with terror as they struggle for every breath merely to live, for those who are tormented beyond words by irrational fears, for the elderly who are wracked with the pains of aging, whose only ‘escape’ is death.
I pray for people who are watching their loved ones fade before their eyes through the grief of Alzheimer’s disease, for the many thousands who are suffering the agony of AIDS, for those who are in such despair that they are about to commit suicide, and for people who are struggling with drugs and alcohol.
I pray for children who have been abandoned by their parents, for those who are sexually abused, for wives held in quiet despair, beaten and abused by cruel and drunken husbands, for people whose minds have been destroyed by mental disorders, for those who have lost everything in floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.
I pray for the blind, who never see the faces of the ones they love or the beauty of a sunrise, for those whose bodies are horribly deformed by painful arthritis, for the many whose lives will be taken from them today by murderers, for those wasting away on their deathbeds in hospitals.
Most of all, I cry out for the millions who don’t know the forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ…for those who in a moment of time will be swept into hell by the cold hand of death, and find to their utter horror the unspeakable vengeance of eternal fire (Revelation 20:15). They will be eternally damned to everlasting punishment. O God, I pray for them.
Now, for my problem…Strange. I can’t seem to remember what it was. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”
It’s good to get a refresher course in thankfulness every now and again, isn’t it? So, this Thanksgiving (and every day for that matter) rather than complaining about what you don’t have, how about you start thanking the Lord for what He has blessed you with! It’s time to truly count our many blessings and say with the Psalmist in Psalm 103:1,
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”