Thank You, God, for Everything?

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything!

For everything? Really?  When we said this prayer as children, did we realize what a mouthful that last verse really is? Can we honestly give thanks for things like war? Disaster?  Terrorism?  Hunger?  Homelessness?  Disease?  There are some things for which it is simply impossible to give thanks.  I, for one, am glad that the Apostle Paul’s instruction to us is rather to “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances.”  There is a difference between giving thanks for all things and giving thanks in all things.  For our faith tells us that there are no circumstances in which God himself is not at work bringing forth good out of evil, life out of death.

Corrie Ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, wrote in her famous memoir about the wretched conditions of the Ravensbrück concentration camp—extreme cold, hunger, sickness, reeking filth, suffocatingly cramped quarters, worst of all, the horribly humiliating weekly inspections of the Nazi guards who would force the women to strip for examination, grinning at their stick like legs and bellies bloated by hunger.  On top of all that, there came a most miserable infestation of fleas which, at first, seemed to add yet another intolerable element of torture for the women, until they realized that the weekly inspections had suddenly ceased.  Why?  It was because of the fleas!  So aggravated by the infestation, the cruel guards had totally abandoned supervision of the women’s barracks!  Thus, the women were afforded a most unusual freedom to move freely, talk, meet, share, laugh, cry, gather around a fire, even to conduct Bible study.  Who would ever think that it would be possible to give thanks for anything in such circumstances—let alone fleas! But they did.

And then I think of all the ridiculously silly, petty things about which I shamefully complain and realize once again how incredibly blessed I have always been, and my heart is filled with overflowing thanksgiving.  For, as Paul wrote, “We know that in everything”—even the worst things—“God is at work for good for those who love him…”  Yes, in everything!

Happy Thanksgiving!
See You Sunday!
Callie

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Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church

3900 Saint Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70115
504-899-3431
rayne@rayneumc.org

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