The average person might boldly make the statement that we all have a great deal to be thankful for but believe it or not there are many people who would strongly disagree.
This week I want to focus on being thankful for the bad things that happen in our lives, or as I prefer to phrase it, the not so good things. No matter how spiritually strong and mature we strive to be, the financial security we have worked so hard to achieve, relationally sound we profess to be; life has a way of throwing us some unexpected curves and challenges we had no idea were coming. When we are faced with adverse life experiences we can often find it difficult to be thankful. If we are able to adjust our thinking and are open to see things from a different perspective it is highly probable that we will take less for granted, appreciate more of the positives and dwell less on the negatives.
I recall a dear friend who became very discouraged on her job and was feeling grossly unappreciated. In fact her feelings were warranted and I agreed wholeheartedly with her. After working diligently to put her resume together, she decided to explore some other employment possibilities that resulted in several positive interviews. Much to her amazement she received not one, but two job offers! As she shared her news with me I told her of course it is her decision whether to pursue one of the offers or remain where she was. This was God’s way of showing her she had a lot to offer and there were others who respected her worth. Sometimes God will close a door so that you are forced to walk through another that He has already opened for you. He knows that we are prone to remain where we are comfortable even under adverse conditions, not realizing that we can be contributors to our own devaluation. When we remain in those conditions we have are inclined to complain. The outlook is reflected as dismal rather than hopeful and thankful for the blessings that we presently have and recall those that we have been granted in the past.
If we never saw a dark day, how would we sincerely appreciate a beautiful sunny day? When we complain about an occasional ache or pain, it would serve us well to visit a hospital or nursing home to see those who are enduring much worse. In those institutions we see those persons who long to be in the comfort of their own home and going about their activities but physically find it impossible. The one bedroom apartment may be cramped and small right now, but think about the homeless person living under a bridge that once enjoyed a better way of life but was hit with a few bad blows or made one too many poor choices and lost everything! We seem to find so much to complain about not realizing there is someone, somewhere who would give anything to change places with us.
In conclusion the following quote and closing scripture sums it all up and hopefully will give plenty of food for thought until we meet again next week!
“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation,
you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude,
a feeling that nurtures the soul.”
Rabbi Harold Kushner
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,
neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations,
and their foolish heart was darkened.”
(Romans 1: 21)