Our grandson, Chandler, recently went to the doctor for a follow up appointment on his lungs. (He had severe necrotizing pneumonia and lung surgery last year.)
As he sat on the little table in the checkup room, the nurse began taking his vitals. As she prepared to take his blood pressure, she paused to show him the cuff and started to explain what it would do.
“Oh,” Chandler said, “I know about that. I’ve been in the hospital a lot.”
When his mom, our daughter Danielle, told us about this conversation later, I immediately felt sad to think of how Chandler remembers the many days he spent in the hospital.
Chandler wasn’t finished, however.
“But you wanna know the good part?” he asked. And his eyes lit up. “They brought me pancakes to my bed.”
He still wasn’t finished. “And my Papa came and brought me presents.”
Of all the things that Chandler could have remembered about the hospital, he remembered pancakes and presents. Honestly, that’s not what I remember about those long days.
I remember the time the nurse had to make seven attempts to get the IV in Chandler’s little arm. I remember the long night vigils looking out the hospital window and praying for my grandson to pull through. I remember watching Chandler suffer in fever and pain and wishing I could take his place.
Honestly, I would have forgotten about the pancakes and presents if Chandler hadn’t mentioned them.
I’ve been thinking about that all week. Here is a four-year-old little boy who has been in and out of the hospital for two major, near-death experiences in the past eighteen months, yet he is finding joy in the silver lining of those times.
As we transition from Thanksgiving to the Christmas season, I don’t know what this last year has held for you. I don’t know what challenges the Christmas holiday season may hold.
But I do know that, in the midst of pain and suffering, there is good news.
If you know Christ as your Saviour, that’s good news.
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:—Colossians 1:12–14
If you have the Word of God available to you, that’s good news.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:—2 Peter 1:19
If you, as a child of God, have the indwelling Holy Spirit, that’s good news.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:—Romans 8:15–16
If you have the promises that God is working everything in your life for your good and His glory, that’s good news.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.—Romans 8:18, 28–29
We have a tendency to limit our thanks to certain events or seasons and to see other events or seasons as only difficult.
But God tells us to give thanks in everything.
I don’t know what “blood pressure cuff” may be looming over you, about to squeeze your arm. I don’t know what “hospital stay” might be behind you.
But I do know that, as I was reminded this week from a four-year-old, even in those times, there are pancakes and presents.
Look for the good part, and give thanks.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.—1 Thessalonians 5:18