In his widely read book, “None of these Diseases,” Dr. S.I. McMillan shares a personal experience about emotional distress and how he conquered it, writing: “The stresses of living are not nearly as responsible for a host of debilitating diseases as are our faulty reactions to these stresses. The office of a physician is filled with people suffering from nearly every disease in the book because their minds are beset by a thousand worries about their finances, their health or their children.
“Sometimes it is the doctor who suffers. Recently I was faced with a loss of some money. The loss was on my mind when I went to bed and it awakened me about 4 A.M.
The next night I didn’t sleep well because I was depressed. I am sure my adrenal and other glands were pumping deleterious hormones into my system.”
The disturbed doctor says he believes his worrying would have continued for a long time but on the second morning he found himself free from worry, distress and depression when a familiar Bible verse came to mind reminding him that we are to give thanks for everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Searching out this verse and reading it changed his mood and brought peace. In his words: “Before I read that verse I was the victim of circumstances; afterward I was the master of them.”
Dr. McMillan isn’t the only one to have discovered the power of a thankful heart sufficient to deliver from anxiety and its attendant physical afflictions.
Deborah Norville, author of a new book titled, “Thank You Power,” says she’s suffered from migraine headaches for years, having tried every remedy every doctor recommended but after getting interested in the power of an attitude of gratitude she decided to try something new. She made a daily habit of writing down things that made her grateful and immediately began seeing benefits from it. Her migraines have all but disappeared and her energy has increased.
I understand Deborah’s delight.
More than thirty years ago, while the pastor a large metropolitan Detroit church, I began having health problems that robbed me of the energy I needed to keep up with my work, introduced me to anxieties that were foreign to me and required more rest than I could afford to take. Then I ran across a statement by A.W. Tozer, author of many Christian classics; that changed my life. “Thanksgiving has great curative powers,” he said. And I decided to test his conclusion by starting every day thankful.
I have an appointment every morning at my upstairs office window where, while most people sleep, I give thanks for things and people I used to take for granted. During this time of thanksgiving, I quote faith building Bible verses like the one that delivered Dr. McMillan from his anxiety and that do the same for me.
At age forty six, I resigned my church because I felt I couldn’t keep up with my work, but giving thanks daily has changed everything and these thirty one years later (you do the math) I carry a heavier work load than then because living thankful frees me from energy thieves that keep us from achieving our potential. If you’re about to quit or give up, try living thankfully; you may find a thankful heart is just what the doctor ordered.