Last night I was editing my college son’s term paper when something so powerful jumped out and literally grabbed my heart. If there was ever a secret for unleashing God’s powerful peace in a situation, it’s developing a heart of true thanksgiving. My son, Jackson, knows this.
The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person. They have made a habit no matter what to notice, pause and choose.
Noticing something for which to be thankful no matter what circumstance they’re in.
Pausing to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God’s presence.
Choosing to focus on God’s presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.
Jackson’s paper was about the corruption and greed that caused the civil war in his native land- Liberia, Africa. He did a great job recounting the facts of the story. But the difference between Jackson and most other kids explaining a historical event, is before we adopted him- he lived in the midst of the horrific conditions of this war.
During one part of the paper, he described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash looking for the treasure of thrown away food.
The treasure of thrown away food.
I can hardly type those words without crying. This is my son.
And yet, despite the horrific conditions of His childhood there was an unexplainable thread of peace woven through his recollection of the story. A powerful peace centered in the awareness of God’s presence.
I doubt any of us will find our treasure in thrown away food today. But will we be a noticer, a pauser, a chooser- a person of thanksgiving no matter what circumstance we’re facing?
I find this truth about the power of thanksgiving over and over in Scripture. What was the prayer Daniel prayed right before being thrown in the Lion’s den and witnessing God miraculously shutting the Lion’s mouths? Thanksgiving.
After three days in the belly of a fish, what was the cry of Jonah’s heart right before he was finally delivered onto dry land? Thanksgiving.
How are we instructed to pray in Phil. 4:6 when we feel anxious? With thanksgiving.
And what is the outcome of each of these situations where thanksgiving is proclaimed? Peace. Powerful, unexplainable, uncontainable peace.
“And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Phil. 4:7).
One of Webster’s official definitions of thanksgiving is: “a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness.”
I wonder how we might celebrate God’s divine goodness today?
I wonder what might happen if we decide in the midst of our circumstances today to notice, pause, and choose something for which we can truly be thankful…..
Lysa and her family adopted their sons Jackson and Mark from Liberia 7 years ago. Their friends and community were skeptical at first. But God moved in a powerful way and now families in their community have adopted over 45 kids from that same orphanage in Liberia. You might have seen their story on Oprah last year. To read more about Lysa, her family and their daily adventures with God, visit her blog at www.LysaTerKeurst.com.