“Inhale grace. Exhale gratitude.”
Dr. Scott Johnson, a professor at Bethel College, repeated this phrase often in his life, and increasingly so during his long and painful battle with cancer. On joyful days and weary days alike, he was aware that every inhaled breath came with the unending grace of God, and therefore he would release that same breath with gratitude for another day of living, another day of breathing in that grace.
Dr. Scott passed away in January of 2011, and since that time I have continued to hear this phrase repeated by those who were so deeply impacted by this man who chose gratitude in the midst of suffering; who chose to believe in grace instead of despair.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Is this really possible? To give thanks in ALL circumstances? To be grateful for whatever situation we may find ourselves currently in? To thank God and believe in His sovereignty through the good, the bad, and the ugly?
Scott Johnson believed it was possible, and lived it out to his last inhaled breath of grace. I am learning to believe it is possible, too. In the days that feel too heavy, or when my emotions feel too tightly wound, I come back to this phrase and take a long, slow, deep breath and remember that His grace is constant. His love is unending. His character is consistent. He is with us.
If you find yourself struggling or suffering in this month of thanksgiving, do not feel like you have been left out, or are doomed to sit on the sidelines. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in, remember that you are not outside of the grip of His grace. There is much to give thanks for. With every breath.
Inhale grace. Exhale gratitude.
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