Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
During a Thanksgiving Eve service, I played a video titled, “The Thanksgiving Chair.” It’s a short clip (you can find it here on YouTube) where a man, in varying scenes, stops to sit in a chair and express gratitude. One of those scenes is a cemetery, where he sits by the headstone for the grave of his wife.
It was a great resource for Thanksgiving worship except for one thing. Just before it played that night, a man came in pushing the wheelchair of his wife. She was a young woman dying of cancer. Their young child was with them.
My heart broke seeing them come in. And how in the world would they react to the scene in the video about the graveyard? In all likelihood the wife/mother would not be with them for the next Thanksgiving.
As all this swirled in my head, along with guilt for showing a video that I assumed would be heartbreaking to them, I heard an inner voice that I began dialoging with.
Don’t put your fear onto that young woman. She has a strength you’re not aware of. The one who sees darkness is the one who can best appreciate the brilliance of light. The one who faces the emptiness of death is the one who affirms the vastness of life. Don’t ever pity her, but learn from her, for she is now your teacher.
Wherever that voice came from, it was a lesson I needed to hear. People are tougher than we think. And people who face tough things may show us things we may never see if we just sit in a Thanksgiving chair next to them.