/ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 / Sharon Sampson

The $700 Garage Sale!

At a young age, my daughter understood economics. She said, “I like eBay better than garage sales. At garage sales, people always offer less, but on eBay, they bid to pay more!” My husband’s view of garage sales is something like, “There goes my life, purchased for a quarter!” Me? I have always loved a good garage sale.

So, back at the beginning of September, I thought, “I have some things to sell, people drive and walk past our home in droves on Saturdays, and Mark has plans to chop firewood with a friend.” Voilà – garage sale time! I got a few items ready the night before and planned to set up my laptop on the front patio in order to work while selling my wares.

Probably only 25 minutes after Mark left, I needed something and trotted into the house. As I headed back up the basement steps, I caught my shoe on the bottom step and lunged forward. I braced my fall with my hands. Pop! Or was it a crack? In any case, my pinky was now at a right angle to my hand. Oh, that’s not good! I applied some ice and a splint and returned to the garage sale and my work, thankful I could still type. The day continued, and I got rid of some unwanted items, earning about $50.

I subsequently decided an x-ray might be a good idea. The pinky was just fine, but I had an avulsion fracture of the proximal phalanx. A chip off the old bone in my knuckle! The orthopedic surgeon recommended buddy taping - wrapping the pinky to my ring finger to keep the pinky in place and protect the fractured area.

The fallout from the fall has certainly impacted my daily life. While I am most thankful the injury did not prevent my ability to type, nearly everything else has been more difficult, either due to pain or the need to avoid activity detrimental to healing. Though the implications were many, the application of biblical truth in light of the accident was quite welcome.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” As I look at my buddy tape, I am reminded of this verse. Left alone, my pinky would be subject to straying and causing more damage. But the two fingers together are far better than the one would be alone. So it is in our Christian walk. Woe to us if we don’t have a buddy to keep us close to Christ and lift us up when we fall!

First Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The psalmist affirms the same idea: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps. 34:1). We must ask ourselves if we think there are any situations in life which would not be included in the “all” of these verses. Certainly not, yet we can live our lives as if our trials or difficulties somehow exempt us from these commands. Was it costly to fall? Yes. Can I still give thanks? Absolutely. And my circumstances never obligate me to ingratitude. I am always free to give thanks. Here are a few reasons I have given thanks.

First of all, I was sent to an orthopedic surgeon, but I didn’t need surgery; I have a broken bone, but I didn’t even need a cast. While I didn’t plan to spend over $700 getting x-rays, etc., I could have spent much more. My greatest use of my hands – my typing – was not hindered. Yes, I have had nearly two months of limitations. While they were real and involved pain, some people only have one hand or arm. Others have none. I am thankful I learned to adapt by using my left hand and to find new ways of doing tasks. I am thankful for my wonderful husband, who has really been hands-on when I ask for help instead of foolishly trying to cut an onion with a new knife and my inexperienced hand!

There are also reasons to give thanks which extend beyond myself. Some dear friends with young children used my injury as an opportunity to learn about bones. After sending them my x-ray, Isaac presented me with a piece of black construction paper, complete with a chalk outline of a hand and Q-Tips for the bones, including one little segment of Q-Tip separated from the others! I have no doubt this was an opportunity for the family to pray for my recovery as well.

I don’t know what you are going through today. Quite likely, many of you are experiencing much greater trials, and a small little broken bone might seem laughable. And yet, if our heavenly Father has all the hairs on our heads numbered, and if he cares about the sparrows, I can know my small broken bone is of concern to him. And if that is true, dear friend, he certainly cares for the weightier burden you may be carrying today.

Despite the trial, give thanks. I am thankful for the reminder that no limitations can ever limit my thanksgiving, nor should they. So, look to heaven and pray. You have a high priest you can approach with confidence, knowing you will find grace and mercy to help in your time of need.

And while trials might seem like shoppers at garage sales – offering less when we want more, we are always free to give thanks for God’s character and His promises, and for Christ’s sympathetic ear which always understands our weaknesses. Like a good auction on eBay, our thanksgiving can always increase. And in God’s economy, our trials never take away our opportunity to give thanks.

Sharon Sampson

Sharon Sampson

Loves the Lord; married to Mark; has a married daughter (Kirby); enjoys teaching, biblical counseling, writing RP parodies, and working at RPTS.

Read More