The verses for my assigned day (yesterday) were: 1 Thess 5:16-18 and Psalm 103. The verse that stood out to me was:
Give thanks in all circumstance, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18
And the first thing that came to my mind related to that verse was a day about seven years ago. I received a phone call from Hermann Hospital here in Houston. It is the primary trauma hospital for our entire region. They fly people there in helicopters. It was also close to my husband's office.
They told me Don had been in a car accident and that his ankle was broken . . . so far.
Now, I am an optimist, and so, I figured I was driving to the hospital, picking up my injured husband, and bringing him home. Got a call from Don's tennis partner, who said the weather was probably too bad for tennis that night. I jokingly told him tennis was definitely off and that hopefully Don was at Hermann because he had the accident close to the hospital and not because they had to fly him there in a helicopter.
Over the course of the hour long drive to the medical center, I went from thinking I would bring him home to what would I do if I had to identify his body? (When I was in nursing school doing my ER rotation, I overheard them calling a family member to come to the hospital when the patient had already died, but they only told them they were seriously ill.)
When I arrived at the ER, they couldn't find him on the patient register. I panicked, thinking he must be in the morgue. But then the volunteers at the desk realized he was "the John Doe that came in on Life Flight" (what a way to find out your husband was airlifted . . .) and that he was in X-ray.
They quickly took me to him. He was moved to an orthopedic room, awaiting surgery the next morning. Into the early hours of the morning, it was a blur of phone calls, anxious visits from friends and ministers, and coordinating our children's care at home.
And, when reading the above verse, this is what specifically came to mind about thanksgiving:
One drizzly October evening, seven years ago, I received a phone call from Hermann Hospital downtown. My first thought was that it must be someone from church calling. When the voice on the other end called me Mrs. Allen, I realized it was something very different. My husband had been in a car accident . . . he had a broken ankle . . . was I coming? I went from cooking dinner in my kitchen to the wife of a trauma patient in an instant.
That night, in Don’s hospital room, I lay on a cot next to his bed. My husband was bruised and bleeding, hooked to many tubes and beeping machines. He was scheduled for the first of what would end up being a total of seven surgeries in the morning. The road ahead would be long and difficult and painful. But right then, I was just thankful that he was alive and, at the moment, sleeping peacefully.
And my prayer matched his rhythmic, sedated breathing: “Thank you, thank you, thank you . . . “
God wants us to give thanks in every circumstance, whether good or bad.
What can you thank God for today in whatever circumstance you find yourself?
I hope that you have a blessed Thanksgiving, in whatever circumstance you find yourself.