“For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” I Timothy 4:4-5
These verses were included in my daily Bible reading “schedule” back in November of 1979 when I was going through a very difficult trial. I wasn’t expecting to receive a word from the Lord that day, but God had a plan for me and I’m so glad I happened to be where I needed to be that day to hear His voice speak something to me I desperately needed to hear.
I had two beautiful babies in 1979. Carrie was a healthy four year old and Andy was two – not so healthy. He had been born with severe allergies that manifested in an extreme case of eczema and a weakened immune system. He learned to scratch himself when he was just a few days old and was sick often.
Although these were not life-threatening illnesses, so to speak, it was heartbreaking to have a baby boy who was so uncomfortable with terrible rashes and a constant series of miserable respiratory infections.
There were not the abundance of allergy doctors available in those days or much knowledge available about allergies. We believed in the power of prayer and faithfully presented this need to the Lord as well as taking him to be prayed for at various churches and evangelistic meetings.
It is discouraging when you pray and things seem to get worse, isn’t it? Especially when it is your child. There were many days of tears mixed with prayers. One church “friend” expressed her “concern” that Andy was not getting healed. In fact she rebuked us for being weak in faith. That was helpful.
As a last resort, I took him to Children’s Mercy Hospital where they did a blood test to more definitely define his allergens. Since his skin was so broken out all the time, we couldn’t do skin testing. I didn’t hear the encouraging report from the doctor that I had been hoping for. In fact her report was the “last straw” moment when we really knew that our only answer was for Andy to be supernaturally healed. She said they had never seen a child have such a high allergy count and he was basically allergic to everything that you could eat or have around you in your environment. She said, “I’m sorry, there’s really nothing we can do for you.”
My eyes were stinging with tears and fear gripped my heart as I drove home from the hospital that day with my mom thinking to myself, “Lord, what am I going to do to see this child be able to eat enough to live if he’s allergic to every food?” Then the thought immediately came into my heart to not be anxious – God would make a way for us.
A few days later as I was doing my reading-through-the-Bible study, and there it was – I Timothy 4:4-5, “For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” As I read those words, my heart literally leapt within me – God was giving me the plan of action for Andy. I was to focus on the foods that he was the least allergic to according to the testing and pray this scripture over everything he ate.
So before every meal that Andy ate, this would be our prayer: “Lord, we thank you that you have created this food for Andy’s good. We receive it with thanksgiving. Thank you for providing it for him, and that this food is now sanctified for his body to use according to your Word, Lord Jesus. Amen. ”
That’s what we did – consistently, daily, and as time went on we saw his skin condition and health improve. He eventually was able to eat every food except peanuts which he still avoids today. That’s ok – he can live without eating peanuts. With the help of allergy shots for inhalants, we were even able to have a cat and a dog share our home with us and Andy has had a very healthy life.
This may not seem like a “miracle” to some, but to our family – this was a miraculous healing that started with standing on the promise of God in I Timothy and remembering the importance of giving thanks for what God provides for us. It didn’t happen the way we thought it would, but it happened!
In John 6:11 when Jesus was feeding the 5,000 what did he do? He “gave thanks” before he began to distribute the loaves and fish to the disciples. That term is “eucharisteo” in the Greek and means to express gratitude – now used as the word Eucharist – the generic term for the Lord’s Supper.
When we give thanks, we recognize that God is the author of life and everything we can possibly experience or enjoy comes from Him. We are so helpless – so hopeless without Him and He is so worthy of our praise, worship and thanksgiving.
We especially recognize this time of the year the importance of being thankful. It’s so easy to focus on the tasks at hand and problems rather than thankfulness. Every time I read I Timothy 4:4-5 I am reminded of that day 38 years ago when the Lord dropped a promise in my heart.
Psalm 107 begins with, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” It ends in v. 43, “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.”
Living in thanksgiving actually causes us to be have the capacity to experience more of God’s presence and power in our lives. That’s what His word says. I have experienced it many times in my life. Let’s live in thankfulness and expect great things from the Lord!
Blessings to you, Readers,