1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (KJV)
When a family matter required my presence in another community off and on for several months, I had the pleasure of meeting Leon (not his real name), who lived across the street. He is an exuberant little kid who, thankfully, hasn't had his creativity harnessed.
Chronologically he is four years old, but each day when he dons his grey-coloured, cut-up blanket cape and becomes Superman or Batman, his age would be anyone's guess.
His thick shirt and "flood pants" (high above the ankle) add character to his bare-foot fleetness and flying cape. Whooshing around his yard, up and down his steps and sidewalk, he performs all sorts of rescues and duties, until he comes to the edge of the sidewalk, when he again becomes Leon who cannot cross the street.
Whenever I'd come out of the house, he'd pop out of a bush, or off the top of the side of their car, whoosh up to the edge of the sidewalk, stop dead in his tracks and say "Hi!" Sometimes I'd cross over and we'd have a little chat. I'd do a quick check as to whether he was performing the duties of Superman or Batman that day.
And so it was on my second-to-last trip that I didn't see Leon outside. The first day I just thought I'd missed him, but the second day I asked his dad if he was okay. I learned that the poor little soul had tripped on a hammer and put it through his bottom lip, so was staying in the house while it healed. I went to the store and found a wonderfully thick pad of construction paper complete with all kinds of small stencils, felt pens and pencil crayons, all, hopefully, of some use to a Superman whose strength had been temporarily taken away. Later that evening I gave it to his dad to pass on to Leon.
The next day, Leon and his mum came outside and called me over. "Leon has something to say to you," she said. With the wide eyes of wonderment that only a child can possess, little Leon looked up at me, exposing his still-sore lower lip, face beaming, and said, "Sank you for the paper and crayons!"
What has all this got to do with God? Not that I did something for Leon, but that Leon did something for me. A member of our family had died, and we were in the process of disposing of all his worldly goods, including his home. Leon's presence in front of me each day reminded me to appreciate life's continuance and the beauty of all that God lays before us, and, to echo the words of one of God's greatest gifts — children, simply say, "Sank you!"
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the many ways in which you see fit to let us know you are with us, and for the gifts you place before us in our times of trouble or sorrow. May we especially see the gift of a little child's presence when you place one so aptly before us. In your name we pray. Amen.