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  • Heidi J. Smith

GIVING THANKS when LIFE STINKS


My mom and I in September 2017

Wringing my hands, I tried to calm my fluttering stomach, while my mother and I waited in the hard cushioned chairs. Sounds of squeaking shoes and a crying child echoed from the hall into our small room.


Opening the door, the neurologist greeted us and washed his hands with the lemony soap. He asked a few questions and examined my mom. Then his next sentence took our breaths away. “You have Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”


Trying to catch our breaths, Mom and I ducked into a private room. We hugged as tears streamed down our faces. Thoughts swirled in my mind, and worry seized my heart. ALS is terminal. Why God? Why my mom? How can this be Your will?


Have you ever received world-shattering news? Words that suck the life out of you and set your mind spinning…


On the night of His betrayal, Jesus gave thanks.


“And when the hour came, he (Jesus) reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took a cup, and when he had give thanks…and he took bread, and when he had give thanks.” Luke 22:14-17a, 19a ESV


Jesus recognized Judas was about to betray him, but Jesus requested a Passover meal with him and his disciples. Jesus knew his suffering was imminent, yet He expressed gratitude to God. Two times! How could Jesus thank God?


By focusing on His heavenly Father and the promise of the future reward, Jesus chose joy and endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). He realized suffering is temporary, but God’s promises are eternal.


When trials come, may we follow Jesus’s example and focus on our heavenly Father.

Lord, help me to give thanks when life stinks. Please center my eyes on You and not my circumstances.


My mom passed away one year later. Even though the pain still hurts and I miss her,

I’m thankful for the promise of eternal life with our heavenly Father.


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

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Heidi J. Smith