It’s easy to give thanks for friends and family, for jobs and churches and all the other good stuff going on in our lives. We should be thankful for those things. It’s easy to be thankful for those things. As I look back on the past year I have realized that it’s harder to give thanks for the hurt, the misfortunes, the devastation in our lives.In the darkest moments of my year I asked the same questions over and over – “God, what did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this?” Why do bad things happen to good people? I seek God. I serve others. I am caring and kind and considerate. I ask for forgiveness when I mess up and try to learn from my mistakes. I have few enemies. Why must I go through such crisis? Why did I have to fight for my life in this way?
On the other side, as I heal and regain my strength, I see it. I saw whole communities from all sides coming alongside me to help me. My family. My friends. My church. My business clients and associates. My thankfulness for them is so great it’s inexplicable.
I saw doctors, nurses, and medical technicians working long hours doing all they could to save my life. I’ve never taken a moment to be thankful for the people in the medical profession before.
Then there’s the midwives who helped bring my son into the world. These wonderful women went out of their way to talk me through my recovery both leading up to admittance to the hospital and in the weeks and months after. They are heros to mothers and babies everywhere and I’m extremely thankful for them.
I saw my son, just days old, going with the flow without his mommy who, for the last 9 months kept him safe and warm and nurtured. He kept me going. He was the motivation to get better on days when I had no other reason. My thankfulness for him is deeper than I could have ever thought possible.
The four grandparents that took turns waking up for midnight feedings, poopy diapers, and endless crying decades after their own children were born gave me peace of mind during the weeks I was unable to mother my newborn son. Thankfulness isn’t even adequate.
My husband, Andrew, who slept by my side, who held me down when I woke up in a panic and tried to pull the life-giving equipment from my body. My husband, who worked into the night to keep our business going, then came to the hospital to be with me at night. My thankfulness for him knows no bounds.
My God, my savior, the ultimate healer, who received prayers from around the world who sustained me when I had no strength of my own. My thankfulness and devotion to Him has only grown stronger and deeper.
I did not deserve this. I did nothing to deserve this. However, because it has happened, I’ve seen people around me have their faith renewed. I’ve seen people who had no care for God before take notice in His power. My gratitude for others and for God himself is bigger and more powerful than ever before. I still have hard days, but those are the days when I need to sit in thanksgiving. Those are the days that I need to give thanks for the hard things because when I give thanks for the hard things, my appreciation for the ability to give thanks for the easy things is that much greater. Maybe bad things happen to good people because it is they who are able to see the good that comes out of the bad…or at least, that is God’s plan.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18