It’s a sunny Thanksgiving morning in Southern California, the doors are open, the dishes are done, the dogs are snoozing on the porch, and the pies are ready to go to dinner.
It is simple for me to write about gratitude this morning.
Last week, I was in Florida watching my father labor for every breath. The hospital had failed (miserably!) and his heart was failing. We got him home from the hospital, and he seemed to be feeling better, so I returned to California. Less than 12 hours later, he was in another hospital, receiving the right medication, but still struggling with an exhausting heart rhythm.
Sunday evening, the whole family gathered on the phone from three different states, praying and preparing for a procedure in the morning which would shock his already weak heart. The next morning, he signed the papers and waited. We all waited. But instead of anesthesia, the nurses brought ice cream! No procedure was needed! While we prayed the evening before, his heart had slipped back into rhythm. . .was nudged back into rhythm.
Yes, there were pharmaceuticals involved. But God did that. The Lord reset my father’s heart.
Last week, in the midst of the pain and panic, I read to Dad from the Lord’s gift to us.
Psalm 40 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! 5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. . . I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!” But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!
The difference between last week and this week for my parents is the difference between night and day. Dad cooked dinner last night. The Almighty God has seen fit to give him, to give us, more days to sing His praise.
But even more miraculous than my father’s strength is the Lord’s mercy for all who seek refuge in Jesus. Look back up at that Psalm. See what the Lord has done:
- Inclined to me
- Heard my cry
- Drew me out of destruction
- Set my feet securely
- Put a song in my mouth
- Acted wondrously
- Thought about me endlessly
- Caused me to hear Him
- Been Faithful
- Displayed steadfast love
- Provided unrestrained mercy
- Preserved me
- Brought justice
I pray that you can sing that new song with me this Thanksgiving Day:
As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me! Happy Thanksgiving!