PASTOR'S PEN: Aaron's encouraging words

There are a few verses which are really difficult and I have a hard time understanding how to even live them out. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is one of those verses:

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

How can I be thankful in all circumstances? What if my world is crashing down around me? What if my finances are tight? What if my friends are far away? What if I’ve been hurt? What if my health is failing? Well, I may not be able to answer all those questions, but I know a little boy who can.

A few weeks ago, while in the Upper Peninsula, I met a lady named Lisa and her son, Aaron. Aaron is 6 years old. He is a normal boy with all the desire for play and activity of any other boy. But one day his parents found a rash on him that wasn’t normal. Aaron was taken to the doctor, where they were told he would need to go to Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. When his tests were all over, they were uncertain of what was going on. Eventually they determined that his bone marrow had shut down. They had given him tests, put tubes in him and placed him in isolation in the oncology department for a few days.

During this time a worship volunteer came into the room and asked Aaron if she could tell him a Bible story and pray with him. She told him how the Lord is our shepherd and we are His sheep. She explained how, like the shepherd, He is with us through the good times and the hard times. When times are hard the shepherd doesn’t leave his sheep. He is right there to help. When a sheep is in trouble and bleats out a cry the shepherd hears that cry and helps the sheep. She then said God hears our cry when we pray. She asked Aaron what he would like to ask God for.

Aaron, who had a bad rash, been rushed to Devos, had an illness that had confused doctors for a time, had tubes in him and tests, could have easily died and had been in isolation for days, replied differently than most of us. When asked what he would like to ask God for, Aaron said:

“I can’t think of anything. I just want to thank God for what I already have.”

That’s contentment. That’s thankfulness in all circumstances. That’s what we need a little more of in our own lives. That little boy was thinking more like Christ than many of us do. When times get hard in your life, think of Aaron and “be thankful in all circumstances.”

*Update: Aaron is doing much better. His counts have improved, though some are a little low. He will have to have blood drawn every week to test his bone marrow, so prayers are still appreciated.