Today is Thanksgiving. I am taking a holiday from ministry until Monday. However, as I thought about thankfulness, this story came to my mind from this past Monday…
Thankful for Grace
Mark was sitting on the bench of the trailer when I went in. He was an older man, rough and rugged looking, but very thin and slight. He smiled but didn’t say much to me. He followed the conversations but didn’t tell any stories of his own. When it was time for him to go, he asked for prayers. Everyone else was working to clean the trailer at closing time, so I asked Mark to step outside. I asked him what he would like me to pray for. He answered that his children needed prayer. One was about to lose his home. One was about to have a baby. And one was not in touch. He asked that the parents-to-be would be a better parent than he had been to his children. I asked Mark if he was Christian, and he responded yes without hesitation. I asked if his kids were Christian, and he confirmed they were. So I laid hands on Mark, and he grabbed my hand as I prayed. I first prayed as he had asked me to, but I was overcome with the need to pray for Mark to forgive himself and to receive healing. As I prayed about how Jesus has forgiven Mark of his troubled past as a parent, he began to cry openly. I prayed for reunification within his family, for strength and protection, and most of all for forgiveness and healing between them all — grace enough to cover them all. We finished and he gave me a big hug.
I heard yesterday that his daughter unexpectedly called Mark and that he is on his way to see her!
I am thankful on this Thanksgiving Day for the grace of God, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit — they are all that separate us from disaster. And they are what brings joy into our lives, making it more than survival but true living.