As we celebrate the American Thanksgiving and holiday season, it’s a good time to reflect on the sentiment and ultimate purpose behind this time of year. Though many people become distracted by material items and holiday gatherings, it’s essential to focus on the real reason for these holidays: appreciating and honoring the gifts that God has given us.
Worship and praise belongs to God for the wonders and miracles He has done in our lives. Even when we feel distracted, downtrodden, or hopeless, we must focus on being grateful for His gifts. As many of us know, God’s gifts often come in the form of personal challenges.
There is a saying in Hebrew—“No one is as wise as someone who has gained experience.” Indeed, at a certain age those who walk by faith gain a lot of experience and trust in the Lord. Some of our challenges are tests of growth to bring us to another level of faith and closer to God. Each time, we discover how great God is and how faithful He is. Each challenge is also a leap of faith, moving us forward for a higher blessing.
Indeed, the story of my (Batya) personal miracle began in 2004 when we were preparing for a very big event for VFI in Houston, Texas. When I arrived back in Israel, after some medical tests, I was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor. It was then that I entered into a long period of healing.
How could this happen to me? I'm healthy—how is it possible that a tumor had been growing in my body? I could not find any reason. I went through a period of confusion, grief, anger, and sadness, as I continued to ask questions, “Why me? Show me what do I need to change in my life Lord?”
Eventually, the questions became prayers and thanksgiving to the God who keeps me. I knew God was faithful and that He would help me overcome and be healed. As I refocused my mind and faith, I rediscovered that He was giving me the wisdom to take care of my body and spiritual walk, building my immune system and strengthening me every day. I remembered the prayer I had prayed as a little girl. The first words that came out of my mouth when I woke were the blessing "I thank you, living and existing King, for returning my soul to me.” I knew that this was the key to the healing process.
As I turned to God, I rid my body and mind of the real toxins: the poison of worry, bitterness, and self-pity. Healing and cleansing of my spirit, soul, and body were through thanksgiving, worship, and prayer.
The victory was the restoration of my body and the defeat of the cancer. Today, 18 years later, I can continue to proclaim the wonders I have seen, praising God and thanking Him for what He has done.
Many of you may know the song “Hodu La’Adonai Ki Tov” (Give Thanks to the Lord for He is Good). The Lord gave me the melody for this song when I just came to faith.
Today, when I hear believers sing this song in many languages, I am so grateful to hear the testimonies of those people who were healed and blessed thanking the Lord through this song.
You can have a listen here:
With experience comes wisdom and better knowledge of the many great things we can be thankful for. Surely, you, our dear friends, have your share of the amazing wonders in your own walk of faith.
At any time and in any situation, thanksgiving is our true weapon to overcome all the challenges we face. The ultimate prayer to God is recognizing and giving thanks for the gifts He gives us every day, even when those gifts feel like challenges. We must trust that God has a plan because we know from experience that he always does.
We are praying for you, our dear partners, and giving thanks to you! Happy Thanksgiving!
May the Lord bless and keep you,
Batya & Barry Segal