Sunday, February 14, 2010

Being thankful in ALL things

Between Aaron and Reese, I will probably one day have enough material to write several books and complete a 2-year tour as a stand-up comedian. Although, they both have some very funny moments, Reese's prayer a couple of weeks ago stuck in my brain and won't leave. It was at the time Granddaddy was in the hospital and Grandmother's knee surgery was rapidly approaching. Now, to appreciate this, you have to understand Reese. She will talk to me on the phone, but when she tires of the conversation (approximately 5-6 seconds) runs away from the phone, yelling over her shoulder - "Byebyeiloveyou". Apparantley, Reese's bedtime prayers are as short-lived as many of her telephone conversations.
Dear God,
Thank you for my family.
I imagine this is stated very quickly and without much hesitation. Let's face it, she's a girl who knows exactly what she wants and precisely what she desires to say.
Katrina recently was telling me about Reese's "extended" prayer. Now, extended for Reese and Aaron is all of 10-12 seconds.
Dear God,
Thank you for my family, Thank you for Granddaddy in the hospital and making him better. Thank you for Grandmother's hurt knee.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Now, I've heard this most of my life. The "all circumstances" part has been something I've really tried to grasp over the past few months in my life. Think about it. All circumstances - the 9/11 attack, earthquakes in Haiti, tsunamis taking the life of thousands within minutes, diagnosis from a doctor that the cancer is everywhere and they're stopping all treatments to send you home on morphine - the list goes on and on.
Was Reese glad that her great-grandfather was in the hospital? Absolutely not. However, she held high expectations for God to work. She was thankful for how He would heal Granddaddy. Does she understand all this? Well, she is a pretty smart little lady, who knows?
Thoughts of Reese's thankful heart have consumed me lately.Any tragic situation I can think of is not one where God will abandon. He's there all the time. I should be thankful for that. On those days that I feel as if a category 5 hurricane is about to make landfall on my soul, God will work. He will do something mighty. I might not see it immediately, but He's still there. He will carry me through. Remaining thankful in all things proves quite difficult sometimes. My aunt always told me that hard times will make you "better or bitter". She often reminded me it is a choice that I make. Thankfulness is a choice that I make. To be honest, I don't really know how thankful I was for the actual attacks on 9/11. However, in retrospect, I've heard stories of how God moved in a mighty way in people's lives. We witnessed selfless individuals rise to the aid of complete strangers. Now I don't know about you, but I have some days almost given up on the self-centered society we live in. 9/11 was a day when God restored that urgency to share the gospel in people like me who had grown lazy in this effort. Think about the people already sent to Haiti just in the past few weeks. Many more will be traveling that way I expect. They perhaps would not have gone without the devestation caused by earthquakes. Some of these will share the gospel and the love of Jesus with those so desperatly longing for His love and saving grace.
Maybe sometimes, I try to "overspiritualize" things - yes, April and Katrina, I know that's not really a word. That verse said to be thankful IN all circumstances. I don't necessarily need to spout off to everyone that I'm thankful for the death of a loved one, or earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. Being thankful for how God will work and guide me in all those circumstances is how I'll attempt to accomplish this. Although, I'm messing up quite a bit. The last part of that verse was about God's will for us. He wants us to be thankful and joyful.

I was not really thankful when Aaron and John Curtis would NOT go to sleep tonight. However, I'm trying to remind myself to remain thankful for what God will teach me through this. A particular individual suggested that I'm not very patient, and God's using that to "grow you in that area". Maybe so........although I'm not enjoying it, I'll try to remember and be thankful what I'll learn in the process.

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