As I tormented myself with anxiety over a potential medical treatment, my peace crumbled. What if the treatment didn’t work? Logic told me the treatment really had nothing to do with the symptoms. A new doctor’s suggestion sounded like a stab in the dark without a firm diagnosis. Since this pattern seems to be typical in my life when it comes to health issues, yes, I have trust issues with doctors. With my stress level over the top, all the counsel I would give others in this kind of situation went out the window.
I sat down to read a new devotional book on my Kindle. Through Anne Voscamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts Devotional,” the Lord began to speak to my heart. Remember, if you’re reading the Bible or Christian material and something seems to leap off the page, resonating with your spirit, most likely, that is God speaking to you. Anne talked about how the first time a thank offering is mentioned in Scripture (Lev. 7:11), it was part of the peace offering. She asks the question: Could it be that God’s peace is somehow correlated with giving of thanks? Does peace come through offering thanks to God even when there does not seem to be much to give thanks for? Anne said, “Authentic thanks is always for “all” things, because God is kneading all things into bread that sustains.”
I love that picture…God kneading all the issues of my life into “bread that sustains.” To me, that means that when I thank Him for both the meager and the fullness, He is using it all to mold me into the woman He created me to be. If I resist with un-thankfulness, I am really hindering the work of God in my life. Thereby, I am thwarting or even obstructing the possibility of peace. The importance of a thankful heart is that serious.
Ephesians 5:20 puts it this way, “giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;”
When we thank God, Anne says we are setting our perspective aside. “We give thanks to God not because of how we feel but because of who He is.” That’s a powerful statement. It’s looking at life from a grander point of view, from an angle we may not have considered. In a way it’s saying that when I look at my life through the lens of thankfulness, Christ’s Lordship is tapped into and the result is peace of mind.. Anne relates that, “My life yields most when I yield most to God.” Sometimes, we are so focused on what we lack that our attitude gets in the way of God’s blessing. I was reminded of Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” We usually get the anxious part, the need for prayer, and the desire for peace, but how often do we incorporate thanksgiving?
So, I began to thank God for the doctor and his expertise. I thanked God that He was in control of the issue, that I could trust He had a plan and would lead. I thanked God that He would go to the appointment with me. As a result of taking time to thank God, I was able to move forward with renewed peace of mind. Writing out things to be thankful for in a difficult situation is valuable and comes with a promised result.