It is Well with my Soul BYU Vocal Point

Thursday, November 24, 2016

With Gratitude

I'm sorry I have not posted lately.  Not that I have been so busy but well, actually I guess I have.  I've had a plethora of MD appointments and have been dealing with an obstinate severe infection for months now. I've already been hospitalized once with it and now it's looking like I may once more be hospital bound with another attempt at eliminating it. 

Anyway that, and a bunch of other related but personal medical issues have been chewing up time and energy. With every MD appointment I have to struggle and beg to find a ride to NY where the hospital and MDs are --it's an hour drive and evidently no one wants to cram that into their busy schedules.  I can normally take a bus, however one of my main doctors is only in on Tuesdays and Thursdays....the two days that the bus doesn't go there.

So anyway.  Today is Thanksgiving.  I have not been feeling very grateful lately although I am still careful to thank the Lord for things he works out for me and for fortuitist events or things that "go my way"....but today when I'm struggling with pain and unhappy circumstances on a day devoted to gratitude when gratitude is my most distant emotion....I read a devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada on the sacrifice of gratitude and thanksgiving.

I won't quote the article for you but I would suggest after you finish my post, click on that link and read for yourself the words that set me down and got me to re-evaluate my attitude.  I've had encounters with the "sacrifice of praise" when with sorrowful tears streaming down my face, I have lifted my hands and sung words of praise to the Lord.  And these have formed some of my sweetest times of praise.

So today in a jungle of JUNK --difficulties right and left...with the Christmas holiday right around the corner and my birthday looming marking yet one more unexpected year...I sat down to re-evaluate my attitude.  My mom has just died.  That alone could ruin your month.  My health issues are painful and seemingly without end.  Finances...thankfully God has provided for our needs and that right there is a reason for gratitude.  It is foolish to whine for more than we have when God has faithfully met every need. 

Pain.  That's  a big one.  It's never ending and it really has been going at me with all guns blazing.  As if an extremely painful ankle was not enough, nor was my normal pain enough...I've been slammed to the pavement by a crippling flare of my autoimmune disease which has arthritis as one of its major symptoms. 

But I should not be "counting my challenges" --I should be counting my blessings.  And this, my friends is precisely what I'm trying to say.  Joni gave a beautiful example of sacrificial offerings by talking about being  given hand embroidered pillow cases from an elderly woman who is suffering from horrible arthritis....And how much more that gift shine with the frame of pain around it!!  How much more would it be appreciated and treasured!  This is how God feels when we come to him in thanksgiving and praise from a week filled with challenges, pain and weakness.  Our thanks to him SHINES with a splendor that a gift that cost us nothing would never match.

Now it is true that this is no greater than what is warranted from us...after all God gives us our very life and breath....of course we ought always to be thankful.  But he is not arrogant like that.  He looks at us with the insight that walking in a man's skin and pains and weakness and limitations has given him. Jesus knows how hard it is to say thank you when every nerve is screaming in protest. And he appreciates our offering of thanks more than we can imagine.

And so today...when you are contemplating your reasons for gratitude, add to your list a God who is compassionate and who VALUES our sacrifices.  And if you are struggling to work up any thankfulness at all, think of the joy your bring your Lord by offering him gratitude and thanks and tell him of all that he has done for you that you appreciate and are grateful for.

And have yourselves a wonderful Thanksgiving...and go ahead, eat too much!!
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