by Brandy Webb
A few weeks ago, I was watching my children play, and it hit me how much I hope and pray that I can watch them grow up and start their own families. Yet, I realized there are no guarantees in life except death, and I have no idea how much longer I have. I know that sounds really depressing, but while I was watching them play, I realized, I can’t dwell on what I can’t control. However, I can give thanks for every single day I have to spend with them.
Life is short. Our lives are just a “mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). We see this reality every day in the news. We are here one second and gone in the next. Therefore, we have to stop taking life for granted. Be thankful for today.
We should make it a point to tell those we love that we love them. Hug our children. Call our parents and grandparents. Spend time with others. Let go of the past and live in the present. Most importantly, thank God every day.
Each day that we still have the breath of life in us allows us another chance to repent. It gives us a moment to correct a wrong. It gives us a chance to show love to a stranger, to help a neighbor, and to listen to a friend. It gives us another moment to laugh, another moment to cry, another moment to shout for joy, another moment to get frustrated. The point is that no matter what the emotion, the important thing is you had another moment to have an emotion.
We must remember, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psa 118:24). We may not feel like we have something to rejoice about every day, but there really is something, no matter how small, to be thankful for all the time.
For example, in the book The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Corrie and her sister, Betsie, are imprisoned by the Nazis because they got caught hiding Jews in their Holland home. After some time, Corrie starts having a hard time finding reasons to rejoice, but her sister reminds her to “‘Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.’ That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. ‘Give thanks in all circumstances!’ That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!’” (The Hiding Place, ref 1 Thes 5:16-18, emphasis mine). The two women start thanking God for the fact that they still had a Bible, they were together, for the prisoners that got a chance to hear the Word of God, but then Betsie goes even further. She thanks God for the fleas that infest their mattresses. Corrie is flabbergasted, but later on they find out that the reason they were able to have their nightly Bible studies was the supervisors refused to go into their barracks because of the fleas. The fleas were a nuisance but also a blessing.
Therefore, if you find yourself searching for reasons to be thankful that you have been given the blessing of another day, thank God for the “fleas” in your life. Sometimes the things that we allow to steal our joy actually play an important part in our lives.
The main point that I am trying to say to you and to myself is that instead of taking each day for granted, take the time to give thanks for that day. Let us remember to ask God to “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psa 90:12). I know one wise thing I can do daily is to give thanks for each day I have the opportunity to watch my children play.