I heard a minister say on Sunday, "Thankfulness to the Lord in our heart is a salve for our soul."
At this particular time in my life, I can relate to salves. At the recommendation of our good friend and physical therapist, I have been applying a capsaicin creme to my neck for some chronic pain issues. The intent of a salve is usually to soothe, to cure or to heal. This minister was telling us that expressing thankfulness in our heart to the Lord would heal and soothe the wounds which the world, the flesh and the devil have inflicted upon us.
I found his words to ring true in human form later in the week.
I was walking down the halls of the hospital traveling to a place that is almost the farthest spot from my own unit. Since it was very early in the morning, the halls were virtually empty, leaving me alone with my own thoughts, and I was nurturing them with every step. I was pondering a particular issue in my life which was tempting me to feel discouraged and frustrated. The more I nurtured those thoughts, the more discouraged I felt.
When I had just about dug myself into the deepest little hole I could, I rounded the corner and bumped into Larry. Anyone who works in my hospital immediately has the image of a sweet, smiling gentleman who speaks to absolutely everyone, who is kind and thoughtful and spreads goodwill and cheer everywhere he goes. Larry and I walked along for awhile and his happy, cheerful attitude flowed over me like warm sunshine on a summer day.
On my long walk back, I thought about Larry. I know sometimes Larry must get frustrated with aspects of his job -- but you would never know it. I know sometimes Larry must feel bad physically or be tired --but you would never guess that was the case. I know sometimes Larry must feel sad -- but I have never seen his face to show anything but genuine cheerfulness and joy. Larry lets the treasure on the inside show through no matter what is happening to his "earthen vessel". Then I wondered, which would I rather encounter in the hallway. . .me as I was before I ran into Larry, or Larry?
No matter what the situation, no matter what the feelings or the temptations, our Lord is not asleep. He has not forgotten us and we are not alone. We can "give thanks" in every situation of our lives "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you". When we do so, that salve of thanksgiving will not only bless us, it will flow from us and like my friend Larry, it will bless all with whom we come in contact.