It is pleasing to hear the words, “Thank you.” As children we are taught to say “Please, may I have …. ” and then reply with “Thank you.” The giver says, “You’re welcome” and then we reply with “You’re welcome,” and when we don’t hear these words, something about the gratefulness seems to be lessened in its meaning. I’ve been guilty of waiting for the person to say “You’re welcome,” and when I didn’t hear it, say it myself just loud enough hoping it would be heard by the negligent person. Pretty tacky of me, I admit.
There are circumstances in which “thank you” seems impossible to utter. Illness, for example. How can we thank God for pain, permanent disability, or torture? Pastor James retold a story from Corrie Ten Boom’s book, “The Hiding Place” while Corrie and her sister were in the concentration camp infested with fleas. Corrie complained bitterly about the fleas until the day she overheard the guards say they wouldn’t enter the flea-infested barrack, which gave the prisoners time to read their hidden Bible. After that day, Corrie thanked God for fleas. I’m guessing God was saying, “You are welcome….anything I can do to help you survive.”
We can’t over-thank God for the good and the bad things in life. Apostles Paul says we should thank God no matter what happens and even for fleas.
Thank you, Lord, for hearing our thanks given out of gratitude. Amen.