Thanks for Nothing!
We are approaching the day when Americans intentionally show gratitude. I feel certain there are some who pass on this opportunity, and perhaps even more who give a nod to thanksgiving without taking the time to honestly reflect on their blessings.
But for those of us who take advantage of this special celebration, there are blessings on top of blessings as we discover new reasons to be joyful. This joy often translates into generosity toward others as we seek to freely share what we have received.
As I think of God’s grace showered upon my family in this season, I would like to acknowledge some things that have NOT occurred in my life, for which I am thankful. I praise God for these blessings of “nothing.”
I am thankful for the tyranny that has not found a home in my country. I am free to pursue my passions and dreams and take my stand against injustice in the city square if I so choose. I can cross state lines to visit others unmolested by checkpoints and bandits. Yes, I need to be wise in my stewardship of freedom and do my best to stay clear of evil people who love to exploit others in a free society. But, this is a small price to pay for my freedom. It is also a much smaller price than has been paid by those who have fought in our nation’s wars to preserve the freedom we all experience.
I am thankful for the crimes that were never committed. We live in a dangerous world, and there is a chance most of us will be victims of a crime in our lifetimes. Hopefully, this will be limited to petty theft and a few random acts of vandalism. Have you ever stopped to think of how different things might be if it were not for local law enforcers who risk their lives to protect us from the “bad guys?” When we are sleeping peacefully in our beds they are calling for back-up at a crime scene. I am thankful I can live with relative safety because others put their lives on the line on my behalf.
I am thankful for the fires that never started. I will add that I am thankful for those whose lives have been pulled out of the flames by fire fighters. But what about the fires that never happened to begin with? Years of code enforcement, advancements in technology and fire prevention programs have saved countless lives. If my smoke alarm goes off on Thanksgiving Day, its OK. I’d rather push a reset button than rebuild a house.
I am thankful for the illnesses that never turned into something worse. We take so much for granted in the field of medicine. Illnesses that kill people throughout the world are stopped in their tracks in our culture with a few dabs of antibiotic cream on a cut or a simple medical procedure. Many people in our world have to walk days to reach clinics that provide basic medical care. Others have nowhere to turn. We have emergency centers conveniently located within minutes of our homes and they are available day and night. I know medicine is costly, but it’s there when we need it.
I am thankful God didn’t let me get everything I deserved. He saved me from sin by sending His Son Jesus to die in my place. I have the hope of eternal life because of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. This is, of course, my greatest blessing. But there is more! I am thankful for the grace God has shown me that has somehow brought me though every thoughtless, dumb decision I have made in life. I am thankful for the people He has put in my life who put up with me in spite of my weaknesses. And I am thankful for every opportunity I have had in life I didn’t earn.
And so, God, on this special Thanksgiving Day week, “Thanks for nothing!”
And at the same time, “Thanks for everything.”
You are my “All-in-All”.
“Nothing” comes close to You.