My girlfriend arrived with a big hug and a bowl of broccoli soup. We both knew why we were meeting, so we didn't take long to get to what mattered most. She shared about her 2 week old unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer and all that's happened since. She shared. I listened. We prayed.
At one point I asked her how she was feeling about it all. "I'm just so grateful," she answered. I waited to exhale, thinking I heard her wrong. It wasn't the response I expected, but she went on. She was so grateful for how God is providing people to extend His love to her through prayers, listening, comfort, gifts of sick days, demonstrations of support, gifts .... care. God's care delivered through the conduit of His people. And she was so grateful.
On Tuesday my friend Kathy shared that the meaning of the Biblical word we know "as “thanks,” “thankfulness,” and “thanksgiving,” is eucharistia ... a response to a grace given; the acceptance of a kindness done with the acknowledgment that it was undeserved."
My sweet friend ... giving thanks for grace given, as she received undeserved kindness. She was a beautiful picture of gratitude to me that day. I was challenged to wonder if that would be my response to the trial of disease.
This morning I was meditating on Philippians 4:4-6.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
The Lord's return is near, so it gives me perspective about trials of this life and the grace God gives. Even when I'm anxious???? Especially when I'm anxious. My friend and I agreed that, though the current of our faith flows strong under our life, the realities "on the surface" are still hard to bear. The hard stuff of life. God knows this, and I guess that's why He invites us to let our anxiety go and replace it with prayerful requesting to Him, accompanied by "I'm just so grateful."
Who have you seen displaying real gratitude?