Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I’ve been thinking on this passage since Sunday when Pastor Matt Wheeler of Oak Hills Church used it to preach a sermon entitled, LEARNING TO BE THANKFUL. He did an outstanding job. I don’t want to try to add to that sermon except to say, it certainly caused me to pause and think just a bit.
About this passage, Warren Wiersbe writes, “Rejoice, pray, and give thanks” sound like ordinary admonitions; but when you add the adverbs, you have a real challenge: “Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks.” It’s the last one that currently is a challenge for me. In everything give thanks … in all circumstances!
You have not received a Refocus email, or post on the Refocus FB or Web Page for a while. In over 3 months to be exact! I have a good excuse! The long story short, LaCresha and I traveled to Green Forrest, Arkansas deep into the Ozarks to a building Materials Auction on August 18th. By that afternoon, I had a heart attack … two days later was having heart by-pass surgery in Rogers, Arkansas. Let me share with you my take on the “give thanks in all circumstances” of this verse.
- I am thankful my heart attack came where it did. Green Forrest, Arkansas?! That’s right! That’s where and when it happened. Close enough for the ambulance to transport me to Mercy Hospital in Berryville. It took only a few minutes to get there. I was diagnosed there and quickly transported to Mercy Hospital in Rogers, Arkansas. A very well equipped, teaching hospital for the University of Arkansas just a short distance away. Oh, did I mention that it is a part of the Mercy Hospital system of Edmond? The same Mercy health care system that has been my primary care for years. My heart surgeon was a great! A grad from OU and a fellow Oklahoman to boot! I came in with the heart attack on Saturday, had a Coronary Angiogram on Sunday, 5-bypass coronary surgery on Tuesday and LaCresha was driving me home to Edmond on Friday. Thankful for the providence of God!
- I am thankful my heart attack came when it did. 6:00pm?! That’s right! The auction was over at 1:00pm and I had purchased about $7000 worth of building materials, rentd a U Haul Truck and was waiting to be loaded up and on my way. We waited for hours and ended up being the final truck loaded. If I had been loaded up earlier in the afternoon, I would have been well on my way back through the winding roads in the Ozark Mountains. I would have had my heart attack alone and on the road in the U Haul. Thankful for the providence of God!
- I am thankful my house in Edmond has not sold! That’s right! Even though we have had it up for sale since the end of June! The two houses for sale across the street both sold within a month or so of being listed but ours has only been shown a handful of times. If it had sold earlier, I would not have had a quiet place for my surgery recovery and healing. Thankful for the providence of God!
- I am thankful for my wife LaCresha! She has tended to my every need during my time of recovery. She has been my nurse, my cook, my maid and my chauffer … oh, and my psychoanalyst! I am thankful for Lance and Brenda Rogers. My brother-in-law and his wife who drove all the way to Green Forrest to take care of the auction items and rental truck we left behind. I am thankful for the owners of the Auction House … Especially Mike who has been patiently storing my purchases until I can get back to pick them up. I am thankful for all my family and friends who have prayed for me through all these circumstances. I made it through the heart attack, by-pass surgery and recovery very well. I believe it is due to your prayers … oh yes, and the providence of God!
The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps in constant communion with Him will see many reasons for rejoicing and thanksgiving through all the circumstances of life … even a heart attack! I trust you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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