The Balm of Thanksgiving


It is astounding how good ice on a burn or soothing ointment on a cut can feel. These don't make the wounds disappear, but they do make them easier to bear. There are situations and experiences in life so painful and difficult, that we feel nothing could make them easier to endure.


However, there is a balm for our hearts and souls when they are dashed on the rocks of loss and suffering. It is called thankfulness. Yet, thankfulness in the middle of misery does not come easily. Difficult, and prolonged burdens of a situation can so overshadow the blessings that if we are not careful, we will fail to notice them at all.


During the first months of being back in the States, my emotions were on a roller coaster. It was almost like grieving for the loss of a loved one. I guess it was really about the loss of many loved ones and the relationships we had built through the last decades. Some days I could feel the heavy dark clouds of depression start moving in.

Yes, we are where God wants us to be, but what are we to do now? Why did he move us back here? Uncertainty about the future and grieving over what we left behind stole my peace and joy.


Are you struggling with a major change or loss in your life? Is it accompanied by questions and doubts? I certainly cannot answer your questions and I can’t make the pain go away, but I can tell you from experience that the balm of thanksgiving will soothe your heart and bring you an unexplainable sense of peace.


For me, it requires a decision of my will and discipline to not give in to my gloomy emotions. I begin writing on paper all the blessings and the things I am thankful for. We now live in a spacious, beautiful home which we bought with our youngest daughter and her family. Instead of placing us in a strange place where we knew no one, the Lord put us in a town and church where we have friends and acquaintances. We are not alone here. "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1 KJV).


For the first time in our life, we have a chance to know our grandchildren and share life with at least three of them. The list could go on and on, but at the very top, I am thankful that I belong to the Lord and no matter what lies ahead, I can trust Him.


The balm that soothes my heart is not having all the answers, but it is gratitude. It is being thankful for all God’s blesses and expressing it whether through song, in prayer, or in conversation with others. Thanking my Lord daily for even the smallest blessings lifts my heart and spirits. It also enables me to be a blessing to my husband and family.

I know there are situations of suffering beyond my imagination and more difficult than any of mine, but one thing is the same: the divine effect of the balm of thanksgiving. Try it, and you will be amazed at the relief your heart will feel.


“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” (Psalm 103:2 KJV).


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