In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. Acts 14:16-17
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a tiny poem in a children’s book that I’ve never forgotten. As a little child, I read: “The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Now as an adult, I realize a flaw or two in that poem. For starters, I suspect kings are not nearly as happy as we think they ought to be. Always battling that pesky feeling that someone is after their crown and then that whole business of running a country probably doesn’t very often lend itself to noticing a world “full of a number of things.” However, I remember thinking how right Stevenson was. Just look at the world and all that is in it! How much there is to be thankful for—including these weird but happy things that spring to mind:
The common mattress: I was reading a book the other night that described someone sleeping on a hard floor wrapped in a sweater, totally insufficient to give warmth. Suddenly, I was grateful for my mattress. Granted, it’s nearly ten years old and will eventually need replacing, but it’s not the floor. It’s soft and holds me up, and there are sheets and blankets on top of it. I’m as cozy as can be.
Taking my dog out late at night: I have to admit that when I first received my surprise puppy late one November in cold New Hampshire, taking her out and training her was perhaps not a thankful thing, especially since she needed to go out All. The. Time. But guess what happens outside at 10:30 pm? The moon and the stars happen. I noticed them again. I’m ashamed to say how long it had been since I’d looked up, up, and up some more at the vast sky with thousands of tiny lights and the soft glow of the moon. Wow. Not to mention that I was wrapped in a warm coat—another thing I’m very grateful for in New Hampshire winters. Late night walks with my dog yield views of God’s handiwork I would have missed. These days, I often look at the night sky, and it’s breathtaking.
The Andy Griffith Show: I know. Weird. The fact is I actually intensely dislike modern television. (Don’t get me started ... this is a thankful blog.) Dad Gamble, who lives with us, loves television, and we have found a common interest in good old Andy. Dad needs six eye drops administered at 10-minute intervals before bed every night, so I used to go in and out, in and out, of his room administering the drops—before we discovered Andy Griffith. That show has made it easy for me to simply sit on down, crochet a baby blanket, and give Dad a drop every commercial. Hey! I guess I’m thankful for commercial breaks, too. Who knew? Now Dad and I have something we do together every evening.
Breathing: Pretty basic, huh? But, have you ever heard a loved one struggling to breathe? Heart rending. I’m so very thankful that my body is able to breathe without even thinking about it. I’m grateful for legs and arms that work and hands that grasp and one ear that hears. Yes, I only have one good ear, but I’m thankful that the working ear has more than compensated so I hardly notice the hearing loss.
Leisure. If you’re reading this, you have at least some. Leisure: free time; spare time; time off. I realize with great sadness that too many folks on this planet have little or no free time. Every moment is spent seeking or earning food, shelter, water. Life is reduced to survival. What an incredible gift to have leisure time. Time to admire God’s beautiful world, “so full of a number of things.”
As Thanksgiving approaches, may God help you notice, too, the weird and random things that are really great and good gifts from Him. Every bite we take, every sip we drink, every air molecule we breathe ... is because of our giving and gracious God who “has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons.”
Dear Lord, open our eyes to see Your bounty. You have given abundantly to all of us. The air we breathe, the stars we see, are gifts to every person on earth. And You provide so much more besides. Help us to be a grateful people, noticing Your generosity at every turn. Thank You for a day here in the USA to focus on just that: Your good and generous gifts. In the Name of Jesus, Greatest of Gifts, Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)