Delayed Thanksgiving

Written by M. Larson

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Is a spirit of thankfulness eluding your heart and mind these days in the midst of difficult circumstances? I recall a time years ago when God reminded what thanksgiving is really all about.

I was feeling sorry for myself that I was in a new location and far from family and friends one Thanksgiving weekend.  My husband encouraged me to focus on what I could be grateful for.  “Well, you’re right,” I agreed. “We do have a lot to be thankful for.”

I reminded myself, “A real Christian should have peace and joy at all times, in all circumstances.  And the reason I haven’t been having it is because I’ve been wallowing in self-pity.”  I bowed my head by the refrigerator and asked the Lord to forgive me.  His peace entered my heart and I felt much better… but it was short lived!

My new improved attitude lasted until Wednesday.  That day I had tea with my neighbor and saw her preparing to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Her sympathy toward my disappointment at being alone in a new place made me again feel sorry for myself.     And I willingly settled into a place of self-pity.

After our thanksgiving supper I realized that it was Thursday evening. This was the night that I had been regularly visiting various patients at the hospital. Furman, the crippled man in the wheelchair, would be especially looking for me.  Since he couldn’t read, he loved having me read comforting Scriptures to him and pray with him.

“Well,” I thought,” it might be a good idea to go, if only to get my willingly mind off myself!”

When I got to the hospital, Furman wasn’t in his usual place.  I stopped by the information desk and asked where he was.  The nurse pointed toward the darkened reception room.  “He’s in there,” she answered.

Going to the darkened room, I peered in.  “Hello, Mrs. Larson,” Furman said.  “I knew you would come, and I have been looking forward to your visit!”

I walked into the room.  As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw Furman sitting hunched over in his wheelchair.  His over-large head was held up expectantly.  But it was an effort for his poor, thin, crippled body.

“Hello, Furman,” I greeted.  “Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you doing in this darkened room sitting all alone?”

“Oh, I’ve just been counting my blessings, Mrs. Larson,” he answered.  “The Lord’s been so good to me.  I have so much to be thankful for!”

“Well, I know the Bible tells us in First Thessalonians 5:18, ‘In everything give thanks,’ but what are you thankful for?” I asked curiously.  What in the world did this poor man have to be thankful for?  I had so much more than he, and I was not feeling that way at all.

“Well, I have a wonderful sister, who works hard in this fine hospital so that I can stay here,” he answered.  “And the doctors and nurses are all so kind and thoughtful.  So are the men in my Bible class, who come to take me to church every week.  And I have good Christian friends like you.  Best of all, I have my Savior, who died for me.  Some day I will go to Heaven and be with Him and have a perfect body like His!

My eyes flooded with tears.  How ashamed I was.  Furman didn’t complain once about the pain that had wracked his body every day for forty years! ‘You are a special blessing to me tonight, Furman,” I murmured gratefully.

As I left the hospital, I made up my mind I would never forget Furman’s testimony. Then I started counting all my many blessings, praising and thanking God for them.  When I arrived home, my heart was bubbling over with joy.  Thanksgiving had come late for me this year–but it had come!  Nothing in my circumstance had changed yet thanksgiving gave God the opportunity to change my heart.

~Father God, Help me to find a thankful spirit in the very place and circumstance I find myself today. Change my heart. Open my eyes to see Your presence and blessing in ways I have overlooked. Keep my heart from envy and fill me with Your Spirit and Your truth. Thank you Lord! I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Questions: What are you thankful for today?  What causes us to loose that thankful attitude?

About the Author Muriel Larson

** Daily audio podcast: A second daily devotional, You Will Have Life, today on the Men’s Devotional Blog

7 Responses to “Delayed Thanksgiving”

  • kanj says:

    what am I thankful for? I am thankful for all the trials and tribulations endured in my life that has brought me to Christ as my Savior. I am too blessed to be stressed about anything. By His grace, through faith I lean on, rely and trust in the Lord. I don’t know what causes ‘us’ to loose that thankful attitude, I do know what to do about those times, I pray.

  • sharon says:

    i am grateful for all things He has done for me and will always do.

  • Dr. Muriel says:

    Thank you, Shirley, Heather, Ivy, and Marilyn, for your encouraging comments. I know how much rejoicing in the Lord and being thankful to Him for everything helps me live above any care in the world! He’s the greatest!

  • Marilyn says:

    I am thankful for Jesus! For His loving sacrifice on my behalf, and for my salvation that He has paid for in full! I am thankful for the Holy Spirit, Who comforts, encourages, empowers, guides, and convicts! I am thankful for the Father’s love, that devised the plan that would redeem my lost soul and give me life! While I could list a hundred things that I am thankful for, nothing compares to the treasure I have in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

  • Ivy says:

    What a great devotion. This really touched my heart and made me also think that there are many reasons and things to be thankful to my Lord.

  • Heather says:

    This was a wonderful and much needed devotion for today and the rest of the year. We often get wrapped up in ourselves or what we need to get done and it drowns us, leaving us without a way to reach the surface and see what is TRUELY important.
    Thank You

  • Shirley says:

    Thank you so much Dr. Muriel for today’s de-
    votional. I really needed this reminder of all
    that I am thankful for. I just been blessed with
    a beautiful granddaughter, she very small but
    she in good health. I am so thankful for God
    healing and sustaining power for my husband
    doing his time of recovering from a foot injury.
    I am so thankful that my I am saved and I know the Lord, how did I ever survived without him in my life? On my birthday in Oct.
    that morining I prayed as usual, thanking God
    for another birthday. When I went into the bathroom, before I knew it a Spirit of thanks-
    giving seem to flood over me. I began to give
    myself to praise that led to worship unto him.
    I cried and rejoice over him and his goodness.
    When I got to work, later on that day my co-
    worker surprise me with a beautiful card that
    they each wrote moving words of expressions
    to me. They also brought me my lunch and gave me money that was left over. When they
    sung happy birthday to me, afterward it happen again a Spirit of thanksgiving came up-
    on me and I began to praise God and express
    how thankful I was. I even express how bless
    I was to work with godly christian ladies, that
    have sow into my life. Well it was one of those
    tear jerking moments, I shedded tears and then others in the room begin to shed tears.
    I am so thankful for the ministry of the Holy
    Spirit who is my helper, that brings those things I need him to bring to my rememberance. The Holy Spirit is the one who
    quicken my spirit with thanksgiving, he poured
    it out in my spirit. I know from personal ex-
    perience that being too focus on self and what
    concern self, and not God focus. I as a christian must walk or live by life by faith and
    not by sight. Many times I have allowed my
    circumstances and the things I am dealing with
    to consume to much of my time, energy and
    focus. When I put my focus on the things of
    God, like concerning myself with others, than
    I am able to see more clearly the blessings of
    God and how much I have to be truly thankful
    for. Sisters in the Lord have a peaceful and a
    joyful day in the Lord. Once again thank you
    Dr. Muriel for such a heart searching devotional.

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