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Ed’s Story: Gratitude

Ed_DobsonSome of you may have seen the story of Ed Dobson either on a widely distributed CNN.com link or on the five Day of Discovery conversations that I did with Ed about his experience with a slow progressing form of ALS.

I just got word from Ed’s wife, Lorna, that the Moody Radio Network is featuring the release of the sixth of seven videos for the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. So the publisher, David C Cook is allowing the short video to be accessed freely on Vimeo for this weekend.  It reflects the latest chapter of Ed’s struggle and is titled Gratitude.

I just watched it, was deeply moved by it, and wanted to pass it along to you here.


Gratitude is timely, and timeless.

Note: the link for Gratitude will be turned off on December 2. But the links to Ed’s story on the Day of Discovery and CNN links will continue to be accessible.

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44 Responses to “Ed’s Story: Gratitude”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Watched the clip this morning at 5 am as Matt rested from his breakfast. He woke this morning and told me he has nothing to be thankful for, then as is often the case tells me he loves me and thanks me for being here and doing what I can for him.

    It is difficult to be thankful for suffering and as each person’s story differs their suffering and their relationship with God also differs.

    The little clip is timely especially seeing the racial ugliness going on in Ferguson, Mo. CNN should be showing it, in contrast, alongside their coverage of the racist remarks and calls for civil disobedience heard from the *Reverend* Al Sharpton.

    Please allow me a short version of an event that took place these past couple weeks.

    The sister of one of my dear friends cremated her second husband last week. Her first died of the same disease Ed Dobson has many years ago. She lost a brother, a pilot in the Air Force over fifty years ago and only after her parents had both died did the Air Force ever acknowledge there had been a crash and her brother lost at sea.

    Her second husband of some 30 + years developed cancer a few years ago and had undergone the long journey from health to death continuing to survive against all the odds.

    They both are Christian and very active in their church and community.

    Last summer they had a family reunion for his family, at his insistence, no one thought he would be able to live long enough to make it but he did, and had a great time vowing to see everyone next year.

    He lapsed into a worse condition a few months ago, but continued treatments as he also suffer complete kidney failure several months ago; until he had a profound moment with God.

    He told his wife that he had been taken to heaven and told that he was to return in order to forgive some people he needed to and then he could rest.

    So he had his wife call whomever it was he needed to forgive and settled matters between them, he told his care givers and church members all about his journey to heaven, quit his dialysis and cancer treatments. He felt better than he had for years for a few days and died peacefully in his sleep with his loved ones at his side.

    What a wonderful gift God gave him and his wife, what a wonderful promise of what is to come for us all. A place where there is no pain, no suffering, no tears, and joy at a level we can scarcely imagine.

    Happy Thanksgiving.


  2. SFDBWV says:

    I forgot to mention that this lady also lost a son from her first husband to Cerebral palsy when he was sixteen.


  3. Bill says:

    Wow. That brought me to tears.

    What a wonderful story.

    And a powerful reminder to be thankful in all things.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Mart and BTA friends. Wishing you all the best.



  4. poohpity says:

    Yesterday it was my joy to make homemade whole cranberry sauce and 2 sweettater pies for today’s dinner. It would take an able bodied person around 2 hours to complete this task. It took me all day with pain until I layed down at 10 last night. It then took around 10 minutes when I laid down for the pain to subside in my back but mission accomplished. Then to wake up to this wonderful man I have been following for the last few years to see him continuing on his journey with gratefulness so totally amazes me and now I get to see 2 of them being thankful in the midst of suffering. We have such a totally amazing God that gives us hope, comfort, peace and joy no matter what these broken jars face. He is the gold that fills those cracks to hold us together in the face of adversity and just life in general. Thank you so much for the wake up call this morning and another chance to experience you this day Father with much gratitude for your presence in our lives.

    I am giving thanks. Hey everyone have a wonderful day.

    Love you,

  5. oneg2dblu says:

    cbrown… Thank you Brother for your post on the other page which I have problems accessing this morning.

    Yes, I agree, “Love is tied to God.”

    “All things that exist are tied to God.”

    Faith which is tied to obedience, is certainly tied to love, which is certainly tied to God.

    God’s Word says… “Faith without works is dead.”

    Perhaps this Love word we speak of is the same thing,
    because “without works,” it simply can’t follows that same obedient reality.

    Faith and Love are verbs as well as nouns.

    Simple and Complex…

  6. oneg2dblu says:

    Powerful Story about Gratitude, or the attitude of gratitude irregardless of all circumstances.
    To me, is akin to God’s gift of having a Peace beyond Understanding, as it borders on being Divine or rooted in God.
    Our Thanksgiving, Praising, Worshiping, and Praying to God are all acts of Gratitude, Grace, Faith, Love, and Obedience.
    How well when blended together does that Divine Recipe displayed in God’s Word make a way for any Follower of Christ.

    Just follow the recipe… Gary

  7. rokdude5 says:

    Happy Thanksgivings to all.

    I praise God for every beat of my heart and every breath I take.

  8. phpatato says:

    Good morning

    I woke this morning to a distinct smell of uncooked dressing and turkey spices and my mouth watered knowing that the smells must have drifted north across the 49th Parallel. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes `n veggies smothered with gravy and finished off with a big piece of pumpkin pie. My stomach is jealous! :-)

    Happy Thanksgiving my American brothers and sisters. May you be thankful, be grateful, be blessed.


  9. jeff1 says:

    I seen the first few episodes of Ed’s story on the Day of Discovery and what struck me most was the honesty and humbleness of this man. A very heart warming story I must watch the rest of it.

  10. remarutho says:

    Joy at Thanksgiving BTA Friends!

    Thank-you for the update on Ed Dobson, Mart. What a wonderful message for our national day of Thanksgiving! These are the days we have to spend with one another. God is good.


  11. joycemb says:

    Thinking today about how fragile life is.

    And so very thankful that in the Kingdom I flourish!

    Wishing all my fellow flourishers grace and peace.

  12. SFDBWV says:

    I am in no way nor with any intent down playing the story of Ed Dobson, so please don’t think that I am. It is a touching and memorable story and legacy of faith.

    I just want to say that there are un-numbered (by us) stories of people who suffer in unimaginable circumstances whose stories never get told or heard by most of us.

    Psalms 65:2 tells us God hears our prayers.

    Though I am convinced that He hears all prayers, I equally am convinced that the suffering I see among those whom it seems unjust, by my standards, must have a purpose of divine intent.

    This is where trust and faith in God comes to the surface of our being.

    Many of us right here live in unfortunate circumstances and as anyone who lives in such unpleasantness can tell you, it doesn’t take much to make you grateful.

    A smile, a word, laughter, a trip out of the house, something to eat, a visit, a phone call, the smallest of events can sometimes be the difference between a good day and a bad one. Making the smallest of happy and contented moments worthy of gratitude.

    I hope Ed’s story can cause people not to focus on Ed so much as a neighbor, a friend or someone they don’t know at all as needing their act of kindness toward someone who needs one; and in doing so find they are in agreement and obedience to the heart and desire of our Lord.

    Each being blessed care giver and receiver.


  13. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    I am sure Pastor Ed would wish us all to send off sparks of inspiration, Steve, just as he is doing — through a growing faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. Those small acts and words of encouragement you mention do make everybody’s day special.

    We have journeyed through the Thanksgiving celebration — and have endured the dull roar of Black Friday’s pagan worship (which is just noise and chaos). Now, we have the privilege of living out the prayerful waiting and watching of Advent. Lord willing, we will live out the most meaningful Christmas ever by acts of worship and devotion before the King of the universe. May many see His glory and not the hype of the marketplace!

    Come Lord Jesus,

  14. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Maru. Thanksgiving was for us what has become traditional, though I cook the same meal two or three times a year, the tradition of inviting friends and family to share it with is what makes the events *special*.

    Yesterday Matthew and I went to the local theater to see “Dumb and Dumber”. We had a little over 11 inches of snow Wednesday over into Thursday morning, the roads were of even with the constant flurries Friday produced.

    The multi-plex theater is located in a tourist area of Garrett County Maryland (Deep Creek Lake) so when we got there it was a packed house. Once we found a place to park and I got him out of the car and into his wheel chair I rolled him quickly across snow covered pavement towards the door.

    Immediately a young gentleman held the door open for us, and I was appreciative for the help. There were long lines at the counter to get snacks and popcorn and as soon as we got our tickets I told Matt I would probably get him situated in the theater then come out and get him a few things. He said ok, but I knew he wanted to see and pick out a few things himself.

    I rolled him up to where the ticket taker was and she said the theater would be ready in about 5 minutes, turning I seen no one was at the snack counter just to our right and the young girl behind the counter ask if she could help us. So matt got to pick out his stuff after all. Once purchased the ticket taker told us it was ok to go on in so we had no waiting at all.

    The theater has a special seating arrangement in the back for wheelchair patrons and so Matt and I were comfortably seated for the movie.

    Afterwards a young girl held the door for us as we exited the building, saying to us “I never look back when I open a door, but I am glad I did this time.”

    Safely home, it seemed as if *someone* went before us and after us and made the whole event a good one.

    God provides, and Matt and I were grateful for a good day.


  15. poohpity says:

    To me the thing that is so wonderful about Ed’s story and others like him who are experiencing hard circumstances in their lives is their attitude. Like he said the difference of gratitude or bitterness. Ed like even Joni Tada find ways to serve others rather than being angry, bitter and full of self pity. They seem to draw people to them rather than pushing them away.

    Another preacher I know once said that life experiences are 10% about the experience and 90% about the attitude in dealing with them.

  16. remarutho says:

    It does sound like a great day for you and Matt, Steve!

    Yesterday, I was privileged to make up two plates of hot turkey dinner left-overs for our neighborhood “resident” homeless couple. Was grateful I could do as much, because I can’t afford to buy them gas for their vehicle more than once a month.

    We in this area are going to have to commit considerable time to advocating for these two. We are learning that they are special needs persons, and will have to have a lot of support to get indoors and to find sustained work for the winter. Thankfully, moisture has arrived as rain, not snow so far this season! Do not look forward to brushing snow off their car to see whether they are alright. Am grateful for that, though snow is forecast next week.


  17. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve and Maru… thank you for those great posts.

    I also feel that *someone* goes before us,
    *someone* attends us while we are there,
    and *someone* lingers after we are gone.

    That is why we can never fully realize the sphere of influence that dances over us, emits from us, and remains long after we are no longer present.

    It is why we can’t ever know how many we disciple,
    how many seeds we sow, how much watering it takes to break them open, how much light to make them grow,
    and all the feeding it takes to bring them to fruition,
    but we can trust and obey, that the work will be done
    exactly how the Creator has planned it.

    We are just a speck in the grandiose plans of the Greatness of our God, and yet He chooses to use to play
    a part in His Glory.

    Praise God from Whom all Blessing flow!
    Be Blessed,

  18. oneg2dblu says:

    I see two more posts collected while I was working out my part they were working out theirs.
    Some even in their pain and suffering, giving Glory to God.

  19. poohpity says:

    Maru, thank you for sharing your acts of love through mercy and charity. :-) Several of those who are on the streets are in fact people with special needs.

  20. poohpity says:

    Maru, I am currently writing a program for the new church I am going to for developing listening skills to offer care to those who are hurting and in need of a nonjudgmental, safe place to share their hearts and minds.

  21. street says:

    Psalm 121:8
    saw this verse in a different light lately. coming out of the bondage of slavery in egypt, to, going into the promised land of heaven. makes more sense that way. and it still keeps with the current narrative of people dieing in the wilderness. how blessed are those who find springs of living water welling up to eternal life.

  22. joycemb says:

    Beautiful street!

  23. remarutho says:

    Wonderful Pooh!

    We need to be out and about in our neighborhood beyond the doors of our church, it seems to me. Safe places are hard to come by — where judgment is not swift and harsh. Oh, for the church to be such a place! Perhaps this Advent will be the time to develop the listening skills you mention.

    Joy at Advent,

  24. street says:

    i know and understand why we celebrate Christmas, just keep the fire burning for the Christmas to come of Christ return!

  25. street says:

    had an interesting thought tonight. if we are having a hard time with listening to spouses, heirs, family and friends. how could we say we are listening and understanding our Father correctly? well one thing is we don’t have to deal with manipulation, deception, selfishness on our Fathers part. our part can get a little dicey. so glad i have come to understand i am a son. i wonder if the hard part is over? Father let me be found faithful in all circumstances and responding accordingly.

  26. SFDBWV says:

    Several years ago a nice gentleman from Bakersfield California commented on the blog that he apologized for his earlier comments as he seemed to find himself on someone’s breakfast clutch and that he didn’t fit in.

    In spite of calls for his return from a few of us, he did not.

    I have always been grateful to Mart and RBC for this site, as it gives me a little place to vent and share some of my life. It often is a struggle and tests my patience as well as my resolve.

    It has changed dramatically over the years, but still has its place in my mornings, for now.

    Once I get Matthew up and his immediate needs taken care of, I turn on the computer, clear emails and while he eats take a look at the news. I have BBC, Fox and CNN news sites and always compare their stories, as each has their own slant.

    Once Matt gets finished his breakfast and settled into his big recliner to await the next phase of his routine, I try and set here at the computer with some coffee and see what’s up with BTA.

    Sometimes I fight the urge to write what I want, because I would rather encourage others rather than just say what is on my mind, but then it occurs to me that such writing isn’t really truthful and most often is seen through by more discerning eyes.

    Mart has told me in the past that he likes it when the comments of a subject take on a life of their own and though not staying on subject create a subject others are able to share in commenting about.

    My problem is that there are so many things I can talk about, that after I put energy into not saying things my time has run out and nothing is contributed at all.

    My wife, and as I have recently learned one of the dental assistants at my dentist’s practice both like to watch “The Hallmark Channel” on TV. It is because the movies they put out are simple feel good stories with perfect lives and a perfect outcome to every story. An escape from reality, for an hour and a half or so.

    Ed’s story is a very small peek into his and his wife’s life, but I guarantee there are more unpleasant moments then we are allowed to see. We are shown what they want us to see, and so our opinion is sculpted from the editor’s view.

    If we, as torch bearers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are to present it to an unsaved world; how do we do it?

    Do we add to the act of the cross?

    Is all the rest of our testimonies meant to convince anyone; or rather to encourage those among us who have already made the choice that the struggles in this life will continue, but continue with a promise that there can be peace in the midst of tribulation?

    I read this morning where a group of teens in St Louis beat a man to death with hammers as they blocked an intersection.

    I also read where there is a call by the Ferguson demonstrator’s for a nationwide walk out to protest *police* violence.

    Someone in the national spotlight needs to call for a national hour of prayer, to God the Father through the name of Jesus of Nazareth for the healing of our country before it is too late.

    I am not in the national spotlight like the hate mongers are, but I can and will ask for the madness to end.


  27. joycemb says:

    Steve I feel your sadness about what’s going on around us. Even in our own families the darkness can feel overwhelming sometimes. The scriptures are a light that brings me hope for an even brighter future when Christ returns.

    Waiting expectantly today with the same gratitude as always for all of Gods’ goodness in the midst of chaos and rebellion.

    Even so, come Lord Jesus, come….

  28. poohpity says:

    I must have watched a different story about Ed. I did not see where any of his struggles were ever sugar coated or given us the message that he does not have suffering and a lot of it over the decade. His wife also shares her suffering and struggles being his caregiver but what I did take away from what he/she has shared is that the struggles do not define them. They had a choice whether to be angry or “learn” gratefulness for what they do have not focusing on what they do not have which causes bitterness. He said he is not grateful for ALS but in the midst of it has recognized the suffering of others.

    If he had never gotten ALS I do not think he would have recognized the immense suffering of Jesus. In that he understood what the black community has gone through and still goes through with racism, “undo” suffering, “unwarranted” persecution, etc. and still being able to sing praises not “for” the problems but “in” them as God has brought them through as overcomers. Looking at the things they can be grateful for and what they can still do rather than grumbling or complaining for what they are unable to do or what they don’t have.

    It is a choice, bitterness and making everyone around them miserable or gratitude and being a pleasure to be around. The suffering is still there and I do not believe that Ed has promoted anyone to believe he enjoys it in anyway nor has his wife ever said it was an easy journey being a caregiver. It is on all sides a rough line to tow but will anger make it any better I bet it would in fact make it all worse and more unbearable than it already is.

  29. street says:

    living with a limp comes to mind.
    God is so faithful in not leaving us in the condition He found us. Thank you Father.

  30. street says:

    “The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!” Psalm 22:26

  31. joycemb says:

    Amen twice street!

  32. joycemb says:

    Pooh praying for you as you write your program & congrats on your new goal for the Kingdom!

  33. poohpity says:

    Thank you Joyce prayers are always needed because I am going through a spiritual battle of unworthiness. Even though this has been something I have been involved in for many years through being a Stephen minister and in the lay counseling ministry since 1991 in the church I attended for 23 years and now just a change in venue but same ministry. The same thing I went to college for and did when I was able to work as well. So not really a new goal at all just being asked to do it in a new church. There are several people from my old church at this new one and that may be why they approached me but I still have problems feeling like what if I mess up in some way. I know I need to put it all in God’s hands but that does not mean I still do not struggle with placing it there. So thank you for the prayers.

  34. joycemb says:

    Pooh I can so understand your battle with feeling unworthy. I had an icky weekend and heard the voice of the enemy say to me ” you don’t deserve better”. Ugh. I said ‘oh it’s you again, you know how to kick me when I am down ‘.

    Historically I am the weird Religious person in my town & family so holidays are very hard. Yet, I know God is with me and understands my pain. I don’t think we can ever be completely worthy in the eyes of others, especially one with as dark a background as I. I used to share my testimony until I was told by a couple pastors that all I had was a lot of sin to deal with. They were right, but neglected to assure me at the time that where sin abounds grace abounds much more!
    Blessings, Joyce
    Go sister in the strength and power of His might and ignore that old enemy. He’s just doing his job until Christ returns. But he is really dead in the dust.

  35. joycemb says:

    Wow I had a hard time posting that! Yep the enemy is a stinker !

  36. street says:

    where do we get the idea we that we all don’t come from a sordid background? i love the Savior that came to save the jacob’s of the world!!! how precious they are in His sight that He would endure the cross on their behalf. throw out the old leaven and cherish Him because He cherishes you and did not leave us orphans.

  37. Regina says:

    Good Afternoon, All! :-) Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! I wanted to drop by this blog site on TG Day, but I was really busy. I attended a TG worship and communion service at my church, and I really enjoyed the fellowship with dear brothers/sisters in Christ. A few minutes after I returned home, I had to prepare to leave again. My sister prepared TG Dinner at her house for the whole family. So, I didn’t have very much time to myself on our day of Thanksgiving. Enjoyed reading this blog topic snd the comments shared by all. Hope you all enjoyed spending time with your families and friends.

    Love to all…

  38. foreverblessed says:

    Finally I can post again, I couldn’t for a few days. Maybe not a coincidence, as my father in law has died. And is now buried. It has a beautiful week, so much more intimate the family is when things like this happen. Everybody was at peace, he had reached a good old age, he was old and tired of his days, as was said about Abraham. I was sitting at his bedside, one of his last nights, and the peace was overwhelming, God is so close when a person is passing. It gave me a wonder about the goodness of God, it above knowing, it is so deep, so full of love. I am so grateful for His ever care for us, that He enjoys seeing us, His eyes are always on us, and He is so fond of us. As I was sitting there I was thinking, why is this so peaceful, he is just laying there, cannot do anything, and yet it is good?
    We ARE God’s children, we ARE in Christ His creation, and all IS good.
    God is working out the Life of Jesus in us, we are under the New Covenant, He promises He does His part, and He ensure that we do our part, as we have faith in Him, through Jesus Christ, (boy that last sentence is so true, and yet as a young person trying to follow Christ I did not know what that meant, God is good, to slowly make it knows to my heart)

    I am so grateful for life, that we have been given in Christ. I am also grateful for the life of my father in law, and thank God for him.

  39. poohpity says:

    forever, sad to hear of your families loss but it is good to hear of the peace that was experienced by him in his passing. I think the stiller and quieter we are the more open we are to listening. I guess that is why when we pray it is better to find a place of solitude as was the example of Jesus. I also lost a long time (50 years) family friend this weekend.

    I shared from the first five parts of Ed’s story when I lead a church service here in our community. It touched many lives so Ed has brought such hope to many who watch his struggles and learn that even in the midst of them there is hope and that God can use someone who’s body is so broken to encourage others. Ed’s ministry goes on. Thank you. It aint over till it’s over.

  40. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Thank-you for sharing the experience of peace at your father-in-law’s passing, Forever. God’s eternal love is like an ocean in its depth — unspeakable goodness — profound comfort. It seems to me Ed Dobson is beckoning each one whose life he touches to “come on in because the water’s fine.”

    May the blessed Holy Spirit continue to surround you and your family, Forever, in your time of loss.


  41. joycemb says:

    Forever my condolences to you and your family also.

  42. joycemb says:

    Pooh my condolences to you also over the loss of your friend.

  43. oneg2dblu says:

    Brothers and Sisters… in the Lord we can have peace in times of death because we have the promises of God, “Absent with the body, present with the Lord.”
    2 Corinthians 4:16 confirms this promise.
    Another reason why it is so important to hear and know God’s voice and Will, by reading His word.
    I really like the way my Gideon’s International pocket edition defines this verse.
    Be Blessed,

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