As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, many of us start thinking about being thankful. It's only natural when you have a holiday with the words "thanks" and "giving" in it! Of course, showing gratitude to Christ for all that He has done in our lives and for Who He is - that's something we're to do year-around, not just during the holiday. This was a good reminder to me as I was going through a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss entitled "Choosing Gratitude". I perused the pages, I was reminded of the story of how this book came to be in my possession...
Sitting in the ER, my vision blurring so bad that I couldn't read the bulletin board in front of me, I felt like sobbing. My head ached pretty badly. I was dizzy, nauseous, and worried. Yes, I had just gotten a concussion. I felt like vomiting but didn't. As I sat there, with a friend on either side of me, I tried to pray. I tried to make sense of what was happening, but the concussion had blurred not only my vision, but my thinking as well. I couldn't remember things in my past, things in my childhood and it scared me - to have parts of my memory gone. Not only that, but I was having memory lost from what had just happened a moment ago. I just wanted the doctor to hurry up and help me!
The next thing I knew, my dear friend asked if she could read aloud to me. Evidently in the chaos of getting me to the hospital, she had thought to bring a book along. I agreed and she began. I didn't know what book she was reading from, but it was like a wake-up call from the Spirit. My friend read about being grateful to the Lord. She read that "I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can whine or I can worship! And I can't worship without giving thanks. It just isn't possible. When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others." (Choosing Gratitude, pages 23-24)
Here I am in the emergency room, sick all over and eyes unable to focus, and I realize that I'm whining. Of course I feel bad and I need to be in the hospital to make sure my body can get proper medical care and such. But as my friend read those words from the book, the Holy Spirit brought them alive to me. I realized that I had a choice. I could choose to moan and groan and say "Woe is me, this is so horrible" or I could to give the Lord a precious sacrifice of worship and gratitude even in the midst of it all (Heb. 13:15). My flesh felt like keeping with the first choice. But I knew that as a follower of Christ, I must follow where He leads. I chose gratitude and worship, even in the hospital, even in pain, because He is good and faithful and worthy. Always.
I share this with you, dear sisters, to encourage you to be thankful in this season as Thanksgiving approaches and throughout every season of your life. Take a look at the Scriptures and you'll see many, many reminders to thank the Lord, to praise Him, to worship Him - no matter the circumstances! Check out "Choosing Gratitude" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss from your local library or download it onto your Kindle. It's totally a worthwhile read!
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God,
that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
~ Hebrews 13:15