At the Saltaire Quiz in aid of ZEM in October there was a pie and pea supper half-way through the evening. I was waiting to be asked to say grace, at which point I would have pointed out that I cannot and will not thank God for mushy peas, which are clearly a crime against nature. J We didn’t have a grace, and I was able to have a slice of pie without peas, and finish the evening happily.
Paul writes that we should “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:18). Elsewhere, too, he reminds us to be thankful. But for mushy peas, or for anything else we are not grateful for? Really?
Corrie ten Boom writes in her book “The Hiding Place” of the time she and her sister Betsie were moved to a different concentration camp. Where they had been before was bad enough, but in the new place they had to share beds and they soon found out there were fleas in the hut. Betsie suggested that they pray, and went on to give thanks for the women in the hut, and for the fleas. Corrie thought she was completely mad. They continued their practice of sharing God’s word with the other women, having smuggled a Bible into the hut. They were able to give them hope and comfort in a dreadful situation. And they were never disturbed by the guards when they shared, which was a real bonus.
One day a woman was very ill and needed medical help. Corrie went out to ask a guard to come in and look at the woman, but the guard refused, saying, “I’m not going in there – there are fleas in there!” Then Corrie realised that they had never been disturbed at their Bible studies because of the fleas – so there was a reason to give thanks for them, after all!
At the end of the book she suggests that each day we give thanks for five things for which we are thankful – and for five things for which we do not want to thank God. Giving thanks helps us to see the situations and people in a new light, and can mean that our thanks change from begrudging to genuine, as we find things we can say “Thank you” for.
Thankful people are so good to talk to, as they are full of praise for what God is doing for them. Looking for things to give thanks for means they see the good, even in difficult situations.
Why not give Corrie’s challenge a try, and actively look for things to give thanks for? We may find that we are more blessed than we had realised.
But I would still rather have my pie without peas, please ….