Sure I do that! I give thanks all the time!
Right before I eat; when I stumble upon a treasure of an old fence as my hubby and I are out for a drive in the country; when my grand babies do something spectacular, which is always; when the bluebirds are playing outside my office window; when I get to snuggle up with my favorite quilt, in front of a toasty fire; I give thanks.
However this week, I had one of those hit me in the face reminders. I mean literally…the gravel hit me in the face, and once things had settled down a few days later I realized it was actually a great reminder. Do I “give thanks for everything” or just those things that cause me to smile?
When I reflect back on my graceful swan dive to the ground I cringe, partly because it smarts much further down than the bruises on my body. The reason it hurts and causes me to go “OUCH” is it actually penetrated my soul. This was the kind of reminder that pricks the memory bank of my heart to keep things in perspective, to “give thanks” in all things, even when those things are not what you expect, and certainly not what you plan.
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 5:20 NLT)
Walking out of church on Sunday morning I took a tumble that left my ribs, ankle, and pride extremely wounded. There was no graceful way in which to describe what I did. Even as those around were so careful and kind in showing abundant concern, there was also no way to erase the already occurring sprain or bruises. And, while this is a first for bruised ribs, it is not a first for a sprained ankle, just like it is not a first to be reminded to “give thanks in all things.”
Now I have to say, this is a lesson I have learned many times in life, and the Lord has been gracious to keep teaching it in new and creative ways. I do wonder if the Lord had to vouch for me regarding my learning curve, would He probably say this girl learns really well when she is first listening! But, sometimes she gets a bit sidetracked, afterward. And, I would agree with that statement.
I get really excited and I am all in when I first learn a new scripture or truth from the Lord. He has my full attention, but somewhere in the application process, I sometimes get tripped up. Have you ever done that before? Gotten so excited about the plan that you forgot the ultimate goal? That is certainly never my intention, but I can get my goal and process all tangled at times. And when that occurs, suffering can be the end result. Why is it so easy to allow your eyes to get diverted, to allow your foot to slip off of the solid pavement in front of you to the uneven pathway to the side? The one filled with gravel and sand, causing you the inevitable tumble.
Now how is it that you can trip yourself up?
For me it generally happens when I get caught up in too much of life’s busy-ness and the happenings around me and exhaustion sets in because I forget on whose strength I should rely. It can be too little prayer time or talking to my Lord, or less scripture reading or not enough sleep, or just too much listening to the world’s problems. That is when the scale becomes unbalanced. More world, less Lord! That can never work for me. I topple over every time. It is when I notice my thankful heart becomes tainted and when things get messed up.
Again, just like I did the other day, I fall flat on my face! Bruises occur, and yes there are times I can embarrass myself and, at times, I am sure I have embarrassed the Lord. However, He has been gracious, oh so very gracious! He has propped me back up with His Holy Spirit and His love. Then, through the precious revelation of His word and His companionship, He never fails to get me right back on the solid path I should have been on before. Much like breathing through bruised ribs and hobbling around on crutches this last week, He walks me through a time of needed restoration, so that a proper mending and healing occurs. Because His faithful love never fails, it endures. His goodness causes my soul to be thankful in all circumstances, even in the midst of life’s “OUCHES.”
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
(I Thessalonians 5:18 NLT)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
(Psalm 136:1 NLT)