I hear her breathe in and out. “Thank you, Lord.” They are the first words that leave my lips each morning. It is a thankfulness that comes from a deep love and real gratefulness. Some may not realize that we start our days that way…thankful for a breathing child. A friend once said, “There is more to you than just Reese.” Very true…a lot more, including 3 other children who need us and who we love just as much. But those words strike in me the realization that some people do not understand the daily struggle for a parent of a child with a life-threatening condition. Each day is a thank you, and thoughts of her life-expectancy infiltrate many moments. It is easy for me to be thankful for Reese’s life, for her breath, for her sweetness, for her beauty, and for good days. But what about the bad days? Then what?
It got me thinking about thankfulness and the power it has in our spiritual lives. Power to bring us joy. Power to enter the presence of the Lord. Power to redirect our focus from problems to peace. Big stuff.
I am not always thankful. Not even close.
I was reading about Daniel today. King Darius wanted him killed, but because they could find “no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent”, they could not find an excuse to kill him. First of all, way to go, Daniel. May we all live life that way! So they put a snare of a law in place. Anyone caught praying to any god other than King Darius would be thrown in the lion’s den.
Daniel’s response to this news…open up the windows, look toward Jerusalem, get on his knees, and “pray, giving thanks to God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10) Gutsy, but also interesting. His initial response is to give thanks as he had done before.
Lysa TerKeurst says, “Our initial responses are usually a by-product of rituals we’ve established in our lives. Daniel had made it his habit to be thankful. Therefore, who God is and what God provides was front and center in Daniel’s heart.”
A ritual, a habit. To give thanks when trouble comes, not just when I gaze upon my pretty angel’s face, is to focus on the One who holds the future. There is only One who can rescue Daniel from lions and there is One who can handle any and every trouble that presents itself in my life and yours.
So here I am on day one of my ritual of first being thankful in every circumstance. Thank you, Lord, that you have got this. You handle both lions and little girls.