Sunday, February 5, 2017

Give Thanks in ALL Things??????

It was 4 degrees when I went on my morning run before heading to the rehab center Saturday to be with Mom. 4 degrees. Who chooses to live in a place where it is 4 degrees???? Notice the Susquehanna River behind me in the picture above is filled with ice floes. Who chooses to live in a place where the river freezes???

On the other hand, Mom's rehab room was toasty warm. So toasty warm that I was sweating a bit. Mom had a rough day on Friday. Her arm cast was removed, staples pulled out of both her hip and arm, and then a new splint put on the elbow. It was a long and very hard day, with a lot of pain involved. She was exhausted.

But Saturday dawned with a bright blue sky and sparkling sun, and despite being only 4 degrees, was a much better day for Mom. For the first time since the terrible fall and broken hip and elbow, she was able to shift her weight in the chair with minimal help from me. She could independently operate the TV, and the recliner with her non-dominant uninjured arm.

"Look at you!You are the captain of your fate; the master of your soul!" I exclaimed,  quoting the poem Invictus. Now I feel this is a dead wrong philosphy in direct contrast with the message of the Gospel, but I knew she would understand the reference and laugh. She did.

My sister sent her a copy of The Daily Bread, which surprisingly, Mom is allowing me to read to her each day. The scripture for Saturday's study was the following:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 
  ...in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
She listened but did not comment. I wondered how she would process this message in the midst of her very difficult circumstances. It is not easy for seasoned Christians to give thanks in the midst of terrible times, let alone someone who is not certain God even exists.
I asked her if she had ever read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. She had not. So I told her the premise of the story, how Corrie and her family had a secret room where they hid Jews escaping Hitler until the day the entire family was caught and arrested. Corrie lost all her relatives to the death camps. She survived. 

One of the chapters of her book exemplified 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Corrie's area of the camp was filled with fleas. There were so many fleas that even the guards rarely entered that portion of the terrible camp. This gave Corrie the ability to run Bible studies and bring the hope of Christ and eternity to the prisoners of that desperate place. She said she never thought she would thank God for a flea infestation, but she did. 
It is very hard to have an eternal perspective when we are in the midst of struggle, but without it, I know I could not survive the very rough patches in life. In fact, I wrote an entire book on this concept which is due out any day. My year of breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, and treatment was a big lesson in how to apply 1 Thessalonians 5:18 when circumstances are hardly what you could imagine ever thanking God for. 

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