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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanks be to God!

There's an interesting story about St. Patrick. Called by God to preach the Gospel to the Irish people, Patrick encountered a rich, pagan landowner. Wanting to impress St. Patrick and those who had decided to convert to Christianity, he sent food and supplies. When Patrick received the supplies, his only response was, "Thanks be to God!"
A couple of days later, the wealthy landowner inquired of his servants. "Did you send the supplies to Patrick?
"Yes, Master."
"Well, what did the man say? Did he send a message of thanks to me?"
"No, Master. He only said, 'thanks be to God!'"
At that, the wealthy landowner was enraged. "What, he sent me no thanks for all the food and supplies? Go back and demand Patrick to give it all back. He does not appreciate my gift."
The servants did as they were told. When they presented themselves to St. Patrick and requested that he give back the food, St. Patrick merely said, "thanks be to God! Take it all back if you wish."
The servants returned with the gifts.
Their wealthy master then asked with a triumphant look in his eye, "What did St. Patrick say when you took my gifts back?"
"Master," the servant replied, "he looked up to heaven and said, 'thanks be to God.'"
Amazed, the master told his servant, "Take the gifts back to the man. He says 'thanks be to God' when he receives a gift, and 'thanks be to God' when his gift is taken away. So, he must have my gift."

Thankfulness is faith that God has His hand in all parts of our lives, even when times seem to indicate otherwise.  It is strong evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in a believer's life. How else could one respond in both good and bad times, "thanks be to God."?

Here are the words of another great man of God who demonstrated thankfulness in the worst of times:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4 NIV Bible)

"I am not saying this because I am in need. For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:11-13 NIV Bible)

How have you demonstrated this kind of thankfulness in a bad time?


  1. I remember on a particular Sunday in church after my first husband had passed from this life into the presence of the Lord we sang Matt Redman's song "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord". Tears ran down my cheeks as I triumphantly sang:
    "You give and take away
    You give and take away
    My heart will choose to say
    Lord, blessed be Your name."
    I knew at that moment what it means to "rejoice in the Lord always", and that it is utterly impossible to do so without the power of the Holy Spirit.

  2. Oh, so true and so beautifully put, Nancy. God is making you into His image!

  3. Giving thanks in whatever situation I find myself tells God that I trust Him with my life. His Word tells me that He has a future and a hope for me. I live in a fallen world where the enemy tries to kill, steal, and destroy.

    Adam and Eve made a fateful decision that impacted all of us. God has spent the last 6,000+ years cleaning up the mess. Ultimately, our last enemy, death, will be defeated.

    Praise God for His unspeakable gift: the Lord Jesus Christ!

  4. Susan, your faith shows that God is at work in you.