“always giving thanks to God” Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)
She was a young woman with three children ages 6-10. One morning very early she woke up to find her husband in great physical distress. She called 911 and then a neighbour to come and be with the children while she followed the ambulance to the hospital. She had sent her husband to the Emergency Department of the hospital a few days earlier because he was complaining of symptoms that seemed like a heart problem. He had been sent home with the diagnosis of stomach upset.
When she went into the Emergency Department she was escorted into a family waiting room. No one else was in the room. The ambulance had already arrived and a specialist was attending him. He came out to her once to inquire about his health history.
She told him it was all in their records as he had visited a few days earlier complaining of symptoms. He rushed off to find the information he needed. Meanwhile she called her sister who lived a half hour away to come and attend the children at home to relieve the neighbour.
A half hour later he came into the room and briefly said, “I am sorry but we could not save him.” The new widow looked around the empty room wondering who he was speaking to and then it dawned upon her that he was talking to her. She had to identify her husband and the nurse who escorted her into the examination room was kind and gentle.
Now it was time to go home and break the news to the children. As might be expected they all were shocked and wept. For the rest of the day people came and went. Some brought food, some offered help of any kind and some simply wept with them.
That night as the mother prepared the children for bed she told them that they were going to have family prayers as usual. As they sat on the floor of the girls’ bedroom she told them that when each one prayed they were to include something they were thankful for.
She felt that even at such a tragic time it was important to remember the good things God had given them. She was following the teaching of our verse for today.
When it came to the 6 year old boy’s turn to pray he thanked God that the ants were on the outside of the house and they were on the inside. He offered a very simple word of thanksgiving but it was real and he meant it. There was no doubt also that God heard and understood.
Perhaps you suffer greatly and cannot see anything good in your situation. Can you think of some small thing like the little boy who, hours earlier, lost his father whom he loved greatly?
In the confusion of our thoughts and the pain of our sorrow, let us still thank God for prayer, for His attention to us in our grief, for the fact He understands our pain. God witnessed the horrible suffering and death of His beloved Son as Jesus died for our sins. Yes, He can be sympathetic with us. Why not find some reason for thanks amidst the pain and sorrow you now feel.
God hears every prayer whether you are young or old. Come and come now.