"It is a great pity that, in the world of light, the gift of sight is used only as a mere convenience rather than as a means of adding fullness to life." Helen Keller
How is you week going? What has happened to you and the people you love this week? What has happened to the circle of people who make up your daily life, at home, where you study, where you volunteer, where you shop or eat?
This is a snapshot of the lives of some of the people in my circle just in this one week. A man is wrung dry, a little girl realizes that she has the power to walk away from the mean girls, a praying woman gets her husband home, a woman of courage forgives the person who murdered her brother, someone fights cancer, someone fights for their job. I watch a child with crippled feet walk to school with the family who chose to care when parents walked away. I see darkness, I see light.
Can We Choose?
Can we choose to see the light rather than the darkness? To give thanks even on our darkest days? Does that mean we are in denial? What if choosing to see the light is better for you, for your circle, for me and mine? What if the act of thankfulness makes for peace and grace? What if it helps us to find God?
If you look up thanks or gratitude using one of those handy online Bible reference books, you will find over 100 scriptures talking about the act of giving thanks. Perhaps none clearer than this one:
‘In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ 1Thessalonians 5 v13, KJV
Why? What is the fundamental reason that God in all His wisdom is so concerned that we should give thanks especially in every thing, on this bruised earth. This yelling, crying, brawl of a place, where there is so often silence in place of the comfort or encouragement that we need. When even God seems silent. Why should we give thanks in every thing?
God is light but He knows that we are often overcome or overwhelmed by darkness; in asking us to give thanks He is reminding us that there is light to be found, even on the blackest day. He is gently prompting us to turn our gaze away from our darkness to His light. God is light, He does not change like shifting shadows, His love is sure, His promises are always ‘Yes and ‘Amen’ in Christ Jesus. Giving thanks, our determination to look for the light, is our way of putting our hand in His, believing that despite what we may feel or see, God IS good.
What Better Gift?
God is not asking us to ignore the difficulties, the hardship, and the loss that can wrench so hard at our souls; instead He is giving us the means to bear them. What better way to counteract a day that seems sent from Hell, than to step on thankfulness until we can see Heaven again? We can look at life fresh when we begin to count everyday gifts. This is a wildly simple way to move our focus beyond the burdens of life to the blessings of now. Everyday gifts like this -
A kiss at the door, a prayer before sleep,
The hand of a friend, unexpected grace,
Flowers creeping from their winter beds,
Coffee cups and spiced tea,
A made up joke told just to me.
Love that is courage and fierce discipline,
Forgiving and forgetting,
Books that tell of time travel,
My name, your name, His name stay,
I’ll count out Heaven in my days.
Count until light unseen, unwanted
This light appears,
Streams through my fighting, biting land,
Beauty for ashes,
Hope for despair,
I’ll count ‘til Heaven’s here not there.
By giving thanks, counting one blessing, one thank you at a time, this is our way of finding the light again, and it is that light that guides us home.
"God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." 1John1 v5b, KJV
He believes in you.