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 Sheila's Reflections                                                   

Choosing Gratitude

November 2008

1 Thessalonians 5:18   In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you

Have you noticed how easy it is to swell with a heart of gratitude when circumstances are going well? For instance, there is money in the bank, the pantry is full, our job is secure, the family is bursting with good health, and all bills are paid up to date…in other words, all is well in our part of the world.

Then suddenly everything changes with a disturbing phone call, the loss of a job, a life threatening diagnosis, or maybe even the breakup of a marriage. How we respond during these troubling times is a testament to others what we’re made of, where we place our trust, and how big God is in our life.

During these dark days, the challenge that faces us is to not allow fear to grip us in its ugly clutches, paralyzing our fruitfulness. So often some of our greatest blessings are birthed out of our darkest days and for us to consciously chose to live with an attitude of gratitude, no matter what befalls us, gives evidence that there is depth to our faith.

I’m extremely grateful for the examples inherited from the Bible, history, and my own life experiences that demonstrate a deep walk with God and display people secure in their faith. For example take the apostle Paul where in Philippians 4:11 he said, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” – Now this is the man who was ship wrecked, wrongfully imprisoned, beaten, and often running for his life and yet he chose to live a contented or grateful life. Then there is Job who had it all, then lost it all…family, home, health, finances, the trust of his friends, and the respect of his wife but still chose to live in a state of gratitude to the Lord. Here’s what he said in Job 1:21 – “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In more recent history there was Corrie ten Boon who paid the price of being thrown into a Nazi prison camp, along with other family members, for hiding and protecting the Jews…God’s chosen people. The loss of her family and especially her sister could have embittered her had she allowed, but instead she chose a path of gratitude. Upon her miraculous release from the death camp, she soon came to be known as the “Tramp for the Lord” and later won, one of her former Nazi prison guards to Christ. She is remembered for saying, “I’ve learned to hold loosely the things which God has given to me, because it hurts when He pries open my hand.” The next example I’m so grateful to have is that of hymn writer Fanny Crosby. When she was just an infant, a careless mistake by a doctor destroyed her eyesight. It is said he never forgave himself but she exemplified no bitterness toward him or God in her heart. Fanny actually wrote in her biography, “If I could meet him now I would say, thank you, thank you – over and over again- for making me blind.” She considered her blindness to be one of her greatest blessings. How awesome is that! Finally, there is Jane who is suffering with an incurable disease and no matter how painful her days or how many limitations she continually faces, you will still find her encouraging others and proclaiming that “God is good!” How honored I feel to call her my friend! They all are proof that we too, can live above our circumstances by also choosing the path of gratitude.

                                                God bless you until our next visit,

                                                                             Sheila

 
2006, Search The Word Ministry