As we focus this month on Praise and Thanksgiving we can become people who have that “peace that passes understanding…down in our hearts“. How do I know this? Experience. Let me explain.
It was 11 years ago in early March that our son Keith’s wife passed away unexpectedly at age 37. As she joined their daughter in heaven, she left behind three boys, ages 11, 6 and 1. We grandparents jumped in and pulled together to raise grandsons which is far different from grandparenting. With no time to grieve and schedules to coordinate, we went about the business of homework, meal prep, bedtime routines, and trying to help the boys like one another. All this while working ourselves.
Sadly, we relied on our own strength and perseverance and did not take the time – we had so little of it – to focus on God’s goodness. Now, that doesn’t mean we never read our Bible nor had devotions, but I recall we did not focus on praise or thanksgiving at that time. Earlier, during some tough times, I had learned to sing hymns and praise songs which lifted me above my circumstances, but it seemed as if I had forgotten this was possible.
So, when this same son Keith fell down a cliff in August of 2015, we determined to find the praises and be thankful; by the end of December we had recorded 101 praises surrounding Keith’s paralysis. What a difference a thankful heart can make! Did it change Keith’s condition? No, but it did help the entire family adjust, and we thank God for the opportunity to show them our God is worthy of praise.
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6 & 7)