“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

“The man next door is building a tunnel under the ground and into my room.” Such was the statement born out of the woman’s disease rather than reality. Paranoia filled her mind with scary thoughts. The culprit? An aggressive form of dementia.

Two decades prior to my visit to that nursing home, I met Cathy. I first knew her as our son’s kindergarten aide. Through the years, I came to love her joyful spirit. I got to know her vibrant and sweet personality. At times, she could be mischievous. We shared many happy memories and became close friends. More like family.

It was only a year ago that love radiated from Cathy’s face, words, and actions. Such a stark contrast to her countenance in those unfamiliar surroundings. On that day in the nursing home sat a broken, fearful woman.

An inner sadness tugged the corners of her mouth downward. Sheer discouragement dragged her chin to her chest.

Confused thinking prevented clear communication. Yet, her body language shouted one clear message: I hate this place! I dread one more day living like this!

But, Cathy’s illness couldn’t smother her gratitude. For a brief moment, she lifted her head and whispered,

“Thanks for being here.”  Obviously thankful in her circumstances, not for them.

Aren’t we all like Cathy? In an intolerable situation, we’re grateful when someone comes along side us. At the death of a loved one, we’re comforted by the presence of a compassionate friend. A person who speaks not a word…just silently shares the sorrow.

We can empathize with others who know our sorrow. We can share their discouragement and anguish. Yet, we are not defeated. Why? Because of His unfailing love. Because of His wonderful deeds.

Like Cathy, we can be thankful for His presence. Grateful for His existence in our lives. Appreciative of His protection and provision.

A scared little child finds relief when a parent grabs his hand. Reach out to grab your Father’s hand.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

This Thanksgiving, we’ll be able to give Him thanks because of His love, help, and presence.

Dear Father, thank You for Your unfailing love and wonderful deeds. (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, and 31)

I can face tomorrow because I can depend on Your love. Your Word promised that Your love endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34 & 41, 2 Chronicles 20:21, Psalm 106:1, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1& 29, Psalm 136: 1-3 & 26, and Jeremiah 33:11)

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