1 Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Rejoice not Respond
by Darell Dauenhauer
I remember reading an account of Corrie Ten Boom. She lived through the worst of the German prison concentration camps. The story recounted the treatment of the Jews and the death and shame they were subject to. After World War 2 ended, she became an advocate for positive change. Her message included forgiveness, mercy and even thankfulness for the survivors. At the end of one such message a man came forward out of the people that had gathered. She immediately recognized him as one of the German SS officers that presided over the women’s prison she was in. The memories of the horrible and shameful treatment she endured in prison quickly caused acid in her stomach as her body reeled at the sight of him.
He slowly walked toward her watching the anguished reaction on Corrie’s face. But soon he stood right in front of her. He said, “I really appreciated the message of forgiveness.” He stuck his hand out to her with the intent of shaking her hand. Ms. Ten Boom said she froze, her mind had come to the harsh fact of forgiveness, surely God didn’t intend for her to forgive him. Yet she knew in her heart that was exactly what was being expected of her. She reached out and took ahold of his hand and truly thanked him and forgave him of all the wrong he had done. Corrie Ten Boom said what happened next was beyond words. A pure spirit of love flowed through their hands and into their hearts.
The apostle Paul said in everything give thanks…. let that sink in. Corrie could have held onto her hate or memories, but that day they would never own her anymore. I think all of us have a virtual list of “prison camp” memories. Some of those still hold us captive. When we rewind the mental image, the acid rises in our stomach and our emotions react accordingly.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, there should always be a reflection of the innumerable amount of blessings we receive. Too often we only count the ones that are good. We tend not to count the ones that took us to our knees or caused us to go on an extended fast. It may be, those very difficult times in our lives shaped the steel in us to trust Jesus though many a storm.
True thankfulness is about the good and bad, the rights and wrongs, the calm and chaos. Paul said all things. Maybe this Thanksgiving, we could take out several hurtful memories and thank Jesus for being with us during the shame and hurt. I’m not saying any of this is easy, but I’ve “been there, done that”.
I wake up several times during the night, look at the clock to calculate how much longer I can sleep. But almost without fail I just say, “Thank you Jesus!”
You may ask, “What for?”
My answer, “Everything!”