Monday, October 31, 2016

Cancer Doesn't Pick Favorites

... or, at least, that's what my dad reminds us. Amidst sobs of agony from the little girls.

If the we could just award a person with some kind of 'best human being' award, my grandpa would have won two days after birth.

He's the guy that goes through years of college to become a Chiropractor and then gives away his services like it's a charity.

He's the one that takes all the carts from the Walmart parking lot cart-corrals, and pushes them up to the store, to save the cart-pushers some work.

If you ask him how he is, the answer will be "blessed".

He whistles hymns a lot.

And cries during movies.

And loves The Sound of Music. Or anything Julie Andrews.

Cancer doesn't pick favorites.

But neither do car wrecks.

You guys, it's really hard for me to say "Thank You, Lord, that my grandfather is dying from cancer".

But just that action in itself, that gesture of giving thanks, teaches me three things about thankfulness, which I am passing onto you. Happy Thanksgiving. ;)

1. Thankfulness Is Not An Emotion

That's kind of surprising, actually, but it makes sense. Our modern generation is so obsessed with feelings, that more often than not, concrete realities are being passed off as emotions.

Thankfulness is not abstract, nor a happy, fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Giving thanks is an action. It's just me giving thanks.

And thankfulness is being full of the action.

No feelings required. (Though an appreciative spirit is more honoring to God.)

2. Thankfulness Sometimes Involves Comparison

I was taught growing up that I should not compare myself, or what I have, to others, or what they have. The first time I remember having that conversation with my mom, I was probably about 6, and I was very aware that my cousins had some toys that I didn't have. And that obviously wasn't fair. Because I was older than them.

But maybe... sometimes... it's okay to use comparisons when giving thanks.

Like, I thank God for taking my grandfather by cancer. Because if the Lord is ready to take his life (or in a few months), I would so rather know a little bit in advance than -BAM- car accident, dead. Or house fire, dead. Or stroke, dead.

Yes, it's hard. But it's easier than it could have been. Let me give thanks for that.

3. Thankfulness Is Commanded

I already quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:18, above. You see what it says? Giving thanks is literally the will of God in Christ Jesus for us (note: 'you' is plural in the verse).

If you've studied your Bible, you know that you can eat meat. Or not! It's one of those things that's up to your own conscience.

Thankfulness is not one of those things. Giving thanks is a command, and beyond that, it's commanded of us in every aspect! "In every thing give thanks"! Happy, sad, good, or bad. After you comprehend the gravity of this, it's just an issue of obedience/disobedience.

~ ~ ~

Am I claiming to be amazing at giving thanks? Absolutely not!

Am I trying to improve? Yes!

In closing, I will again broach the idea that even though giving thanks is an action, not a feeling, there is a spirit in which you can give thanks, an appreciative spirit, that is much more honoring to God, than just going through the actions. Especially in the bad things of life, I think, people are watching. And when we can point them back to God and His glory (which is done through our spirit/attitude, more than our actions), our purpose as His children is fulfilled. I, personally, am discovering that that spirit, which I do strive for, is so much more obtainable when I am obeying God in the action of giving thanks. Kind of neat how it all works together, isn't it? :)

Is there anything you are not feeling thankful for? I would like to challenge you to choose a stance of obedience, and thank God for that, whatever it is, right now. Compare it to a worse possibility, if that makes it easier to say "thank you" for.

I hope you have an amazing week! How are you planning to spend Thanksgiving? I'm hoping to do a post after the holiday with some pictures on how our family celebrated. :)

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