By Cassie Downs,
I snapped a quick picture, her thin, frail, and somewhat bruised hand rested inside of mine. I knew it wouldn’t be much longer and I would no longer feel the tender touch of my Granny’s hand.
We were only a few short days from Thanksgiving when I said my last goodbye on this side of heaven. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t feeling very thankful. Two thousand twenty was a rough year, for reasons we’re all aware of and for me, personally, as I had buried three grandparents that year. Granny was my third. My heart was in pieces and had been since January when we buried my Papa. Between the loss of my loved ones and the loss of everything COVID brought, my grateful meter was bankrupt. I had become a prisoner to my grief.
In Acts 16, we find the account of Paul and Silas in prison. Before landing himself in prison, Paul was a man on a mission to spread the gospel of Jesus. He was doing it well, lives were changing. It was one of those changed lives that landed him and his sidekick in prison. The changed life? A demon possessed slave girl. Paul had boldly cast the demon out of her. However, the girl’s owner wasn’t too pleased about this transformation, so he seized Paul and Silas and had them thrown in prison.
Let’s be real for a second. Who could be thankful amid this? I imagine my heart would be full of anger and hurt, anything but thankfulness. Oh, but not Paul and Silas. I’m sure anger and hurt we’re part of it, but it didn’t override their thanksgiving. They did what you and I often fail to do when life knocks us down. They looked up and praised God from prison.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. ”” —Acts 16:25-26 (CSB)
Our praise in our prison brings freedom. It was thankfulness turned to worship that set Paul and Silas free. Friend, it is so easy to let what we’re going through blind us from what Gods done for us.
This thanksgiving I pray that whatever you may go through, that you will take a page from Paul’s writing and look up. Look up to see your Father in heaven. To see the wonderful things He’s done in your life and praise Him amid your problems. You don’t have to be thankful for what you’re going through, but you can be thankful in it.
My heart was broken, and the flip of a switch couldn’t fix my bankruptcy of thankfulness. So, I fixed my eyes on the one who could, Jesus, and all the reasons He deserves praise. And I worshiped Him in my heartache. That’s when freedom came. That’s when thankfulness returned to me. He is worthy of all praise! Praise Him today, friend. We have so much to be thankful for.
Cassie Downs is the author of Chasing Jesus and Unrivaled, both 60-day devotionals and founder of Everyday Jesus Ministry. Connect with her online at everyday-jesus.com. Cassie’s books are available locally and Amazon.com.