The Things We Do Have!

 "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus!" 1 Thes. 5:18

"For this is God's will for you…" How remarkable that it is so! God is so much wiser than we are. He knows all about this 'circumstance' stuff! He knows, of course, about the troubling circumstances. But he also sees the other ones…the good ones…the ones we so often overlook. Maybe someday we'll see things His way, but until that time, God has to remind us to keep "giving thanks in all circumstances". No—let me correct that: He actually has to command us, doesn't He? It's a command, isn't it? And always when God commands anything—It is for our good! It is for our happiness. 

How good it would be if we could let the good things of God rule over our thoughts and reign over our hearts! That is the secret to true happiness! And that has to be what Thanksgiving is all about. 

Remember that statistic about the early pilgrims? A third of them had died during the first terrible winter! And yet they are the ones who put on the first Thanksgiving with such fervent, thankful hearts! Apparently, they could still see plenty of good things in the midst of their dire circumstances! You and I need to do the same! 

Pastor Jim Byrnes tells the story of a time when the New York City police were called up to the top of a 54-story building where a woman in her late fifties was threatening to jump to her death. The police were making every effort to get her to step back to safety, but she would not listen! 

Actually, the woman didn't look like the type to jump. She was nicely dressed; she seemed rather composed; on the surface, very normal looking. But as experts in those situations will tell you, the longer the delay, the greater the risk. 

Finally, one of the policemen went over to the phone to call his pastor and ask for prayer. The two men prayed together over the phone, but eventually, the pastor himself actually showed up at the scene. 

After several minutes of surveying the situation, he asked the police captain if he might approach the woman and try to speak to her: why not? What did they have to lose? 

The lady was no more impressed with the pastor than she had been with the police. As the pastor took a few steps towards her, she yelled out again: "Don't come any closer or I'll jump I tell you!" She definitely looked like she meant business! 

The minister took a step back and called out to her: "I'm sorry that no one loves you," he said. 

This caught her attention, and also the attention of the suicide squad: it seemed like an unusual thing to say, under the circumstances. 

"Your children must be neglecting you. Your grandchildren as well, I suppose. They probably haven't been giving you any attention at all. " 

At this statement, the woman stepped back from the ledge a little bit and corrected the minister: "No. My family's okay," she said. "My children have always been good to me." And then: "And my grandchildren are wonderful." 

There was a long pause, and then she continued: "I have eight grandchildren." 

The pastor took one more step toward her: "Well, then you must be under some very heavy financial burdens; you must be very needy to be so desperate as to jump like this..." 

This time the woman smiled at him bitterly: "Do I really look like a needy person?" she asked, modeling her stylish clothing for him. "We live in Central Park. We have a beautiful apartment." There was another pause as she stared down into the abyss, and then she continued: "Actually, we have everything we need". 

The pastor took another step toward her, "Then...why do you want to do something like this?" 

And to his surprise, the woman turned from the ledge, stepped over to him, fell into his arms and sobbed: "I don't know! I don't even know!" 

Bless her heart! You know?—it is amazing how all reason for despair can vanish when we just take a moment to think, with gratitude, about the things we still do have! 

That is, after all, what Thanksgiving is all about! 

I hope you have a great one! 

See you Sunday! RAS 


Ghost House (part 2)
Ghost House