News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Religion

July 21, 2012

Making a list of things to be thankful for

TERRE HAUTE —

I’ll be honest with you: I’m finding it difficult to “be happy.” I’m usually one of those obnoxiously happy people. I love to hear and tell “good stories” that make me and others laugh. I’m probably the most optimistic person I know. But I confess, lately, the “happy” part has been zapped right out of me.

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t lost my joy. I still experience the joy of the Lord, for it is where my strength comes from. But the happy, giggly, laughing part of me has gone dormant. Since I believe the Bible has the answer to any question I have, I used my handy-dandy computer-generated Bible concordance and looked up words like “laughter” and “joy” and “peace,” hoping I could find a way to restore my “be happy” attitude.

While looking up Scriptures to bring my happiness, I stumbled upon 1st Chronicles 16:34: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” That verse led me to Psalm 100:1-5: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations.” As soon as I read that passage, I remembered the words of 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

And that’s when it hit me. Did I want my “be happy” attitude back? Did I want my joy to once again to bubble over into laughter? The answer was staring me right in the face: GIVE THANKS. And that’s just what I did. I gave thanks for my wonderful husband, who loves me more than I deserve. I gave thanks for my children and grandchildren and the joy they bring to my life. And then I got some paper and began to list some things God had given me — things for which I was thankful.

Sisters and brothers, for they are special people who share our childhood memories. A warm bed to sleep in on a cold night. A tall glass of iced tea and a good book. Strawberries and ice cream. All things chocolate. Air conditioning (especially this summer.) Good friends — the kind that Scripture says can love you more than a brother. A long-distant phone call from a long-distance friend. Diet soda. Peanut butter. Pepperoni pizza. Buttery popcorn. Snuggling with my cat. Putting down the cat to snuggle with my husband.

But I’m most thankful for Jesus. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).

Guess what? Finding so much to be thankful for makes me want to laugh!

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, maybe reached at VrdSpeaks@yahoo.com.

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