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“Thank You for the Goats in Our Lives!” 1 Chronicles 16: 1-4 Key verse(s): 4: “He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. ”

“God would surely understand if I wasn’t thankful for this!” If you have ever traveled through “the valley of the shadow of death,” you might be familiar with this statement. God is reasonable and He certainly is wise. He would be the first to understand that there are times in our lives when thanksgiving is not possible; times when, perhaps, gratitude might be inappropriate. When things are bad, very bad, how could a just and all-knowing God commit us to praise and thanksgiving when it would be entirely more logical to cloak ourselves in mourning?

Perhaps there is no more difficult time to muster up praise and thanksgiving than when you are sick; especially when that sickness might be unto death. When daily living becomes a consistent exercise in pain control, medication, and just trying to survive, it would seem that there isn’t much room for “happy.” And, since God understands this better than we do, it would make sense that the last thing He might be expecting to come from our lips is “thank-you.”

Erma Bombeck, author, columnist and humorist, went through just this sort of time in her life, a time when, due to breast cancer and the fear of death, it must have been difficult for her to find things about which she could express her humor through her writings. Yet, Erma reserved that ability to “stay the course” even in times of great pain and fear. She wrote: “An estimated 1.5 million people are living today after bouts with breast cancer. Every time I forget to feel grateful to be among them, I hear the voice of an eight-year-old named Christina, who had cancer of the nervous system. When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she thought long and hard and finally said, ‘I don’t know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything!’ The kid is right.” (Erma Bombeck, Redbook, October,1992.)

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