I read a devotional this morning on thankfulness. The devotional immediately brought to my mind how thankless I used to be, and how, in the recent years, I had experienced change. What a transformation this has been for me. While I remain a work in progress, there has been change, welcomed change.
Then, my thoughts immediately went to the pastor of my church. A few weeks ago, during his sermon, my pastor spoke on thankfulness. Tears welled up in his eyes as he remembered the recent death of his daughter; his teenage daughter who had suffered from depression.
He shared how entirely impossible it was for him to be thankful, and how he could find no peace in her death. He spoke of how he would curl up on his bed and sob through the night; crying out to God, asking “why.” Why her, Lord? Why me, Lord? Why now, Lord?
One night, as he continued to struggle with his daughter’s death, the Lord spoke to him. The Lord showed him that his daughter no longer suffered. His daughter was with Him in glory.
This was the turning point of this pastor’s misery. To know that his daughter was with the Lord; to know she was in glory…with Him.
Now, he knew all along that his daughter loved the Lord, and would be with Him. But, in his grief, he had not allowed himself to reflect on that aspect of her death.
His little girl was gone; she was gone from his life on this earth forever. He missed her; he loved her. He agonized over his feelings of helplessness; guilt. If I had done this, or if I had done that, maybe she would still be here with me.
While he remembers his daughter with love; while he continues to weep at having lost her; he has a strange sense of peace now. He has a thankfulness that, without the Lord, he could never possess.
His daughter is in glory. She is in His presence. Someday, they will be reunited.
Praise the Lord!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let our gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Amen!