Giving Thanks for the Tough Stuff

Giving thanks for obvious blessings is not difficult. Giving thanks for the tough stuff, the things that look like anything but blessings, takes real faith.

I’ve written on another Thanksgiving about giving thanks for what I call “disguised gifts” in Abundant Gifts. I wrote that when we give thanks for things that don’t seem on the surface like good things, our faith opens the way for God to turn it into a blessing.

Some things we experience are downright painful, and part of living in this broken world. Death,  for instance, is an enemy that Jesus himself cried over (then conquered and transformed).

There are other kinds of pain I think God allows into our lives because his ultimate goal is for  healing. Continue reading “Giving Thanks for the Tough Stuff”

Lessons in Seeing

“I can’t find my boots! Where are my BOOTS?”

This was, of course, a crisis because we were dealing with a 15-year-old daughter who absolutely needed her boots RIGHT THEN because at the football game, they were supposed to dress as “cowboys or Indians.” And of course her ride was about to pick her up any minute.

I told her where the boots should be in the basement. She couldn’t find them, of course.

I looked where I thought they should be, on the shelf in the “boiler room” as we call it.

There was a small box there, which I passed over. Surely that couldn’t contain boots, since I knew mine were with hers. That much I remembered.

I ended up clearing out a lot of junk in the basement trying to find those boots. (God’s grace and sense of humor. I did need to clear out all that junk months ago. Guess God knew Continue reading “Lessons in Seeing”

Christmas Snow

Soft whiteness

Falling from the sky

Changes barrenness to beauty

Covers potholes, cracks, scars

with peace.

Just like the grace

That fell from the sky

To be born in a stable.

Through the Storm … The Impossible Path

When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled!
The sea quaked to its very depths.
The clouds poured down rain;
the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world!
The earth trembled and shook.
Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there!
You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.
—Psalm 77:15-20 (NLT)

When God acts, he makes a road where eon one dreamed a road could possibly be–through the sea! A storm can be all around, a fierce storm that lights up all the world and shakes the earth. Yet God is in control of the storm and he makes that impossible pathway for his people. Trust this God in your storm; believe his is making a pathway no one knew was there, and that he is providing leaders to take your through the road.

(Note: If you liked this short meditation on Psalm 77, you will enjoy Abundant Gifts from the Word, a daily devotional sent to you via email. Sign up at www.abundantgiftsfromtheword.com.)


“How Could Jesus Sleep Through My Storm?” (A Meditation on Peace)

stormy-sea1It was Jesus’ suggestion to get into the boat and cross the lake one evening. He settled down, head on a cushion, ready to turn in for the night.

Suddenly a fierce storm blew up around the boat.

The waves crashed around the boat, and the disciples were terrified. Someone thought to go find Jesus.

Unbelievable–there he was, asleep in this treacherous storm that was about to sink the boat. How could he sleep through a storm like this?

Ever feel that way? Like Jesus is asleep while the storm is about to sink your boat?

The disciples (and we) often interpret Jesus’ sleeping as his not caring (Mark 4:38). But that’s not the reason Jesus sleeps through our storms.

He can sleep because Continue reading ““How Could Jesus Sleep Through My Storm?” (A Meditation on Peace)”

Room for All Kinds

I was frustrated, not for the first time, by a particular person. Someone who does things very differently than me–in my opinion, too slowly, or without enough regard for reality. This person was unconcerned, in my mind, about what was important, and focused only on the negative. I did not want to deal with the person or the situation, but circumstances being what they were, I had to.

I knew it was I who probably had the wrong perspective. So I took the matter to God in prayer. And this time, I think I heard a clear word in my spirit. A clear message.

I had recently been to a church retreat called “The Kingdom and the Poor.” One of the most powerful moments of the retreat was when the leader had various people simply read the scriptures that mentioned ‘the kingdom of God” and another set that mentioned “the poor.” No comments, just the scriptures, one right after another, cascading over us, word by word constructing a picture of God’s vision and God’s heart.

When I went to prayer about my attitude toward this particular “difficult” person, the words that imprinted on my soul were,  “In my kingdom there is room for all kinds.”  And the sense was that, not only is there room, but “all kinds” were welcome, honored, cherished.

How different from the world! The world dictates membership into The Accepted: you must be successful, productive, rich, beautiful, powerful, productive, useful. The whole advertising industry, to mention only one, is built upon reinforcing this. Why do people strive so hard to look as young as possible, to acquire as many possessions as possible, to become as successful as possible? Not really to get or become the thing itself–beautiful, rich, or successful–but, I think anyway, to become Accepted.

God’s way is different. God says you’re accepted just because he made you. I think he actually likes people who are “different” in some way, who have some sort of handicap or difficulty. His compassion is activated by our need, and his nature is to be compassionate, kind, loving, gracious.

“In my kingdom there is room for all kinds.” The words changed my attitude toward my Difficult Person. Knowing God loves that person, welcomes that person without asking for any change at all, humbled me, challenged me to do the same.

It also made me look at myself, at my own lacks and faults, and feel very, very glad that “in God’s kingdom, there is room for all kinds.”

Copyright (c) 2006 by Diane Eble. All rights reserved.