Turning Tragedies Into Thanksgiving

December 15, 2012

“La, da, da, da, da! Yeah! The weekend! Yeah, it’s Christmas time and we have money in the bank! Skipity-skip. Things are going my way.” Then bang! Tragedy.

Or, “I’m such a poor thing. Times are tough, I’m overworked, and no one appreciates me.” Then bang! Tragedy.

Whichever our attitude, a tragedy can sure change our outlook, can’t it? And what it likely does is remind us of how fortunate we were before the tragedy… how thankful we should’ve been… how precious are those things, freedoms, or people we took for granted.

Let’s learn from tragedies, heartbreaks, trials, and even small problems, to be grateful for all that we have, every blessing that is ours today. We may not always have it. Many others in the world probably don’t have it. Even here in the U.S.A.

A warm bed, clean clothes, enough food to fill a tummy three times a day, a job, a spouse who cherishes us, parents still in good health, money to go to the dentist so our teeth don’t rot out… all sorts of things are ours to be grateful for. Another is reasonable security/safety every night as we sleep. Do we realize how many people in the world have to try to sleep even with the awareness that they or their loved ones may easily be robbed or killed in the night? Talking with people at the bus and train stops has made me conscious of this ever-present danger many here in our own city face continually.

How about the freedom we have to walk around, to go here and there pretty much whenever we want, to look at the blue sky and the lovely trees, hear others laugh, and give and get a hug? We should be thanking God for such things –especially when we understand that those in prison crave to get just one glimpse or bit of these things… and that those in eternity without God, will forevermore receive no such thing. How awful! Are we therefore doing whatever we can to free those caught in spiritual prisons?

A friend of mine called me last evening to tell me of a fright she had just encountered, having been set free just a half hour before. For just as she’d gotten off work and stepped into the elevator, the electricity in the whole building went dead. There she was, trapped and alone. I, being claustrophobic, was certainly horrified to hear of her ordeal. But what she was telling me was that, though it lasted only fifteen minutes, she came out of there exceedingly grateful for all sorts of things!

I immediately thought of how grateful we should all be for cell phones. And I’m sure she was (and is) grateful she had hers with her, and that there was reception, for she was able to call the boss who reassured her that they wouldn’t be leaving her alone and would be attending to the problem without delay. She also had the Lord. She knows the Lord and knew she could call out to Him –He who is always there for us– and she did!

When I told my husband about it, he reminded me of the time when he was in the elevator at his work building when it actually broke, and since he was merely making a quick visit to a different floor, he’d left his phone on his desk. Because it happened to be the weekend, no one else was at work. Finally, a janitor heard him yelling, and the firemen eventually had to come to get him out. He said he too prayed fervently and just talked himself through it: “The Lord is with me, it’ll be okay”, etc.

But, I think of those who haven’t yet been freed from their tragedies… like of those in Connecticut who are having to endure fresh anguish regarding their children who were gunned down by a wicked nut yesterday morning… or of those who are facing a terminal illness… or of those who have been rejected for the umpteenth time… But especially, I think sadly of those who are too stubborn or ignorant to understand that a fate of eternal darkness and hopelessness and fire –with the devil (who they’ve been choosing as their master instead of God)– really does await them if they continue to refuse to repent.

So, let’s determine to have grateful hearts and teach ourselves to give thanks for all the freedoms and other blessings we have, even as we remind, model, influence, and teach others to do the same. For gratefulness –toward others, and especially towards God– can make all the difference in how we handle future trials and tragedies, as well as in the level of joy and happiness and contentment and assurance we choose to experience as we walk through every day of our lives.

with love,

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