Scripture Reading:

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

A friend’s cancer had returned. I went to see him in his home. It was a comfortable place, but he couldn’t hide his discomfort. The cancer was now in his bones. He was hurting—badly.

His most comfortable position, he learned, was to lie with his back flat on the floor. So that’s what he often did.

He shared his experience of watching the news from that position. “I saw the masses on the hillside—thousands of refugees from Iraq crowded into camps. Snow, bitterly cold weather, and their only shelter was wholly inadequate tents!” he said.

I admired him for his empathy. He reflected further: “Some of those people are sick and in pain too—and look where they are, lying in a tent in that bitter cold!”

As he saw those distant neighbors, he was moved by compassionate concern for them, and he was grateful for his own surroundings. “I am in pain, but I am so blessed to have this good place to lie down. I am very thankful.”

Even in his severe pain, my friend saw blessings and gave thanks! He showed me what it can mean to “give thanks in all circumstances.”

As I left his home that day, my heart was warm and grateful—for this gracious brother and his grateful heart. I want that gratefulness in my heart.

Lord, give us grateful hearts. Whatever our circumstances are today, give us the grace to see our blessings and to live gratefully. In the loving name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

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