Bible Society of South Africa
Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Are you grateful? – Day 20

Thankful that we are alive

Bible text(s)

20In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father.

Ephesians 5:20GNBOpen in Bible reader

18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18GNBOpen in Bible reader

24This is the day of the LORD's victory;

let us be happy, let us celebrate!

Psalms 118:24GNBOpen in Bible reader

I want to end this series with a story about one of my little heroes. Despite the immense pain and trauma he had endured in his life up to now, he remains positive, living each day with a thankful heart. His name is Ulrich van Pletzen.

In 2009, at four and a half years old, Ulrich arrived with his parents in Struisbaai on New Year’s Day. They were still unloading their vehicle when an unfamiliar dog came out of nowhere and attacked Ulrich, biting him in the face. In a flash, his beautiful, innocent little face was mutilated for life.

At the hospital, tears streamed down the doctors’ faces as they had to sedate Ulrich in an upright position in theatre, as they were afraid that he might choke on the large amount of blood streaming down his face. The middle of Ulrich’s face had to be amputated. Although Ulrich already has had thirteen medical procedures to date, a long road to recovery still lies ahead of him. Despite this, Ulrich remains a bundle of joy, taking part in various sports and he has even obtained provincial colours in gymnastics.

Ulrich’s words at the end of a video clip telling his story, touched me deeply. He says: “I just want to thank everyone who loves and supports me. I also want to thank Jesus who helped me to stay alive. I know he still has a big job for me on this earth.”

Are you living like Ulrich, grateful for each day added to your life – despite pain, disappointment and sadness that you may experience from time to time? In Ephesians 5:20 we read: “Give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it is written: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” And in Psalm 118:24 the psalmist says: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

A grateful heart keeps our eyes on God. It reminds us of what he is able to do. It also enables us to experience his love and power in a wonderful way in our lives. May we never cease to be grateful, knowing that God is in control of our future. God bless.

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