Giving Thanks In All Things

I have been disheartened by the news of so many huge, devastating fires that continue to burn in so many states. It can be terribly unsettling. And with the strange pattern of weather we have experienced for the past many months, lots of people are suffering and grieving over lost property and possessions because of heat, cold, floods, tornados, earthquakes, or storms. Not so much “the best of times,” but not yet “the worst of times” either.

I know of one couple who lost their home in the recent Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs. It was burned to the ground. Everything was gone except for a few items they were able to save during a brief 45-minute-or-so window when the firefighters allowed them to quickly return to their homes just hours before the worst part of the wildfire cascaded into their neighborhood. Even then, they thought the house would make it, so they did not retrieve as much as they might have.

They stayed in the basement of the home of some friends for a month. They now are renting a townhouse for the next year or more while the debris is cleared away and a replacement home can be designed and built.

The remarkable thing I noticed is how positive their attitude is today. Instead of bitterness over their tremendous loss, they are seeing the blessings of the little townhouse and its numerous amenities. They are grateful that they still have each other and their jobs. They also have wonderful memories. They have chosen to be positive and to move on — with God.

I remember the remarks of a wise colleague after I had been complaining about what I believed to be unfair treatment by a church member. He said, “It could have been a lot worse. If I were you, I would be thankful.” I have never forgotten those words: It could have been a lot worse.

You may have had it tough lately, but I urge you to be thankful, for it could have been worse. Sure, the attendance at church has not been all you had hoped for, but just think about how many have attended and been confronted with presence and message of the Holy Spirit. You probably should have been recognized more often for the things you did for your people, but think back to those who did affirm you. I would imagine there have been some lonely times, but what about those encouraging telephone calls that came at just the right time? And, for what it’s worth, I care very deeply about you and your family and your calling. 

In ministry, we all look for the obvious, often at the expense of His grace and mercy. I know I do! His blessings come in many forms, even in difficult times when those without faith would only see the negative side. Keep your perspective. Know that He is God! Be thankful!

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done” (1 Chronicles 16:8).

©2012 HB London. Originally posted on Aug 20th, 2012 on The Heart of A Pastor Blog.