We join hands around the table, all of us tired from the day. And we muster out our song of thanks-hopefully filling our hearts before we fill our bellies. We look around the table at one another (checking to be sure everyone’s singing) and my boy and I lock eyes.
He’s had a rough few weeks…bad allergies, a cold, doctor’s appointments, and two cysts growing on one eye. He’s been a trooper through all the exams and medications and frustrations. But when he’s just had it, doesn’t want to wipe his nose one more time that day, can’t stand to sit and wait through another round of warm compresses, and just wants a more ‘normal’ day, he looks at the rest of us.
- ‘Daddy and you don’t have a runny nose.’
- ‘Carolyn and Rebekah don’t have bumps on their eyes.’
- ‘No one else is going to the doctor.’
And what can I say to his observation? At this moment, he is the one who’s struggling and dealing with more than the other two (he’s got no idea what being pregnant feels like!) Do I tell him my hope? That these little inconveniences, these moments of struggle or discomfort, the times when we ache–these are the hopeful moments, the ones that waken us to better realities, to life on the other side of these little sufferings.
He turns my way that night at dinner, teethy grin and bright eyes-even the one with ‘bumps.’ He smiles and sings loud, ‘God our Father, once again, we bow our heads and thank you. Amen.’ And it’s a simple thank you, I’m not sure he even knows who he’s thanking. But he’s singing, even with a runny nose and aches from the day. He’s singing-and to me his song is a more perfect thanks. A thanks that must mean more than the thanks we bring when all is perfect with the world.
Sure, we long for the days of health and happiness but it’s the days of hurt and sickness that dig roots deep and awaken us to give thanks anyway. To sing thanks in the midst of challenge reminds us that Christ is the gift. Sick as we may feel, He has healed our deepest disease.
I grab my son’s hand tight and pray the cysts will disappear; that we’ll find a way to stop the allergies. But I pray with a sober heart-more than physical health, we all need a more perfect thanks-and this perfecting will most likely come through hurting. For this is the way to perfect glory and endless thanksgiving.
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Hebrews 2:10