Give Thanks To God In Sickness, As Well As In Good Health
Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, still keeps track of me. He uses his phone to check in with me as he will not email. This past week Ed phoned four times and couldn’t get an answer. Ed doesn’t leave a message on the answering machine. Finally, on his fifth try, he reached me, demanding to know what I was up to since I was avoiding his calls.
I explained to him that my wife was in the hospital, and I was at the hospital afternoons and evenings.
“What’s the matter with her?” Ed asked.
“She had an operation and will be home tomorrow,” I replied.
“Was the operation serious?” he probed.
Yes, but they were able to do what they needed,” I said.
“Why didn’t you tell me she was having an operation?” he demanded.
“It was an emergency operation,” I answered.
Ed seemed satisfied he had as much information as he wanted and moved on to another topic.
Other peoples’ operations are mainly a matter of information to us. When? Where? Why? A success? Home or still in the hospital? It is much more intense when it is our loved one having surgery or if we are facing surgery ourselves. As Christians, it is a test o our faith to thank God no matter what comes our way. The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Thessalonians 5:18)
It’s easy to thank God when we recognize good circumstances or blessings in our lives. However, when events turn threatening, or things are bad, we may pray for God’s help in facing the threats but forget to thank God for the bad things happening to us. It is not easy to live Psalm 34:1 when you are on your way to the operating room. It says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Unfortunately, most Christians forget that rejoicing and giving thanks is definitely not based on our circumstances or feelings.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Habakkuk rejoiced in God despite terrible circumstances. The Babylonians defeated his land of Judah, leaving the nation in destruction and anguish. A number of the people of Judah were taken into exile. Yet the prophet proclaimed, “Though the fig tee does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food, though are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
Whether things are good or bad for us, whatever our circumstances, God is God and worthy of our thanks and praise. God’s divine being is beyond our power and wisdom and anything we know. Whatever happens to us in this life, we trust God for something better in our future. In all things, God works for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28) Trouble, sickness, and surgery shall not separate us from the love of Christ. (Romans 8:35-39) In all of life, including hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword we give God praise and thanks.