I was the one who discovered her – slumped over in her chair, mouth open, eyes staring at nothing. “Grandma! Grandma! Can you hear me? Are you OK?” There was no response. Tentatively, I tried to lift her to a sitting position, but she fell forward again, totally limp.
This is it. She’s gone. Heart pounding, I called for my parents.
“She’s still breathing.” At my mom’s quick appraisal I breathed a small sigh of relief. But we weren’t out of danger yet. I snapped into crisis mode, helping mom and dad maneuver my one-hundred-year-old grandmother into her bed.
As my mom and I scurried around checking Grandma’s blood pressure or putting a cool cloth on her forehead, my dad hardly left her side. “It’s OK, Mom,” he stroked her hand tenderly, “We’re right here. We love you.” Then, as he smoothed the sheets and adjusted the pillow under her head, I heard him murmur, “Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus.”
Suddenly all the tension of the last several minutes came tumbling to the surface and I wanted to scream – Grandma may be dying! How can you be thanking God at a time like this?
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew what it was to face death. The three Hebrew men were willing to be thrown into the fire rather than bow down to a man-made idol. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand,” they boldly declared to King Nebuchadnezzar. “But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV, emphasis mine).
Like those Hebrew men so many years ago, my dad chose to give thanks even in the face of death. He was giving thanks not because he felt grateful for the circumstances, but because he was trusting in a loving God who is greater than the circumstances.
Miraculously, after a few tense hours, my grandmother recovered from this incident and today is as perky as ever! But before we knew the outcome, I had already settled the issue in my heart – Even if You take her home tonight, Lord, I still choose to thank You because You are good. As I declared my trust in a sovereign God who loves me, my heart was filled with peace.
Do you have an “even if” faith? Are you willing to give a sacrifice of thanksgiving in the face of pain, loss, or even death? Settle it at the extreme – resolve to give thanks in the “even if” places in your life!
“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.” Psalm 50:14, NIV