We were all born into this world. All given life. But in God, through the sacrifice of His son, we have the gift of life. In this life, He has given each of us our own set of circumstances, our own trials, and all for a purpose. His purpose.
For some, this life is more difficult than others. It is easy to look at believers being rescued and healed swiftly while it seems your entire life is one trial after another. It is easy to say God if only you would heal me, my children, my family, if only you would move me to another state, city, church; do you not know what I can do for you?
But what if this. What if instead of trying to be God’s CEO, we chose to be His child? What if we embraced the life He has given us and whispered a simple thank you?
You know my pain.
You know my desperation.
You know my loneliness.
You know my heart.
You know I am breaking.
It. Is. Not. Easy.
I feel I might suffocate.
Thank you for this gift.
Thank you for each day that my eyes open.
Thank you for the loneliness as it makes me aware of your presence.
Thank you for the pain and the illness as it makes me dependent on you.
Thank you for the financial struggles, as it shows me your promises are true.
Thank you for the beauty of the sun bursting in the early morning light.
That you for the song that lifts hearts and quiets minds.
Thank you for the birds that sing.
Thank you for the food that nourishes.
Thank you for giggles, and twirls.
And thank you for tears.
This life is beautiful.
In all of the pain and confusion; the chaos and the mess, I see You.
Teach me to always see You.
Teach me to always be grateful.
Gratitude is not an easy posture to maintain. In the throes of chaos, it’s one step to the right or left and down the slippery slope of self-pity we slide. Blinded by our circumstances we lose sight of God. Our focus shifts and we are looking to our neighbors and wonder why we cannot be more like them?
The if only’s set in and we hear ourselves saying it over and over; if only this (fill in the blank), then I will be happy. If only this (fill in the blank), then I will be accepted. If only this (fill in the blank), then God will love me more.
God will love me more. Will He?
Does our happiness determine how God loves us? Do our acts of service determine how God loves us? Does our ministry determine how God loves us? We could go on here, but let’s stop —because the answer is a resounding no.
God chose us.
God designed us.
God created us.
God purposed us.
If we accept this, there is no fear of being lonely, overlooked. Our hearts are turned toward His. And a heart turned toward His is grateful.
Grateful in all things.
God never said we would not have trials and suffering, instead, He says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
How much suffering must you endure? Only God can answer that question, but His word shows us that whatever passes through our lives has gone through Him.
We see this illustrated in Job 1:8. Job’s afflictions began from the malice of Satan, by the LORD’S PERMISSION, for wise and holy purposes (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
When Jesus stood before Pilate, He answered Him saying, “You would have no authority over Me, UNLESS IT HAVE BEEN GIVEN YOU FROM ABOVE; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:11)
Even Jesus, God made flesh, says to Pilate whatever you have for me is not possible unless God has given permission for it to be carried out.
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There is not a crisis, a move, an illness, a diagnosis, a loss, a win that He does not know about. Nothing that touches us comes as a surprise to God. Everything in our lives goes through him first.
The reason? To prepare us. To build our faith. To build our character. To give us empathy to provide comfort to someone walking a similar path. To pull us back to Him. We could name a thousand reasons. But ultimately it is all for His glory.
Knowing this, wouldn’t God love to hear us whisper to Him, “Thank you, Lord, for my circumstance, how do you want to use me in my circumstance? What can I do for you?”
What are some things we can incorporate on a daily basis to keep our eyes fixed on God? What would this look like in your life?
What do we do when we slip, lose focus?
Shelly spends her days with her two daughters, her husband that loves like Jesus, and her two bonus daughters she gained by way of marriage. In the ordinary, you can find her homeschooling her oldest daughter while delivering meals to her youngest as if she were a short-order cook in a diner. Most days you can find her chasing grace, believing that all the small things are great things in the kingdom, and praying it boldly —kingdom come. She writes out her story at www.beyondborders.me