Praise be to the Lord
It is easy to live a thankful life if everything goes well with us. What than if bad things happen to us? When one views it afterwards, we often see that God manages these things and their effects in such a way that they would result in a blessing to us and others.
Helen Keller (see photo) becomes blind and deaf at 19 months. She learns to read through Braille, writes with a special typewriter and learns to talk by the age of 10. She attains a university degree at 24 years, and did much for the blind worldwide her whole life long. She was also the author of seven books and a film was made of her life. Initially she found life very difficult but later she writes: “I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work and my God.”
A German parson tells of a man whose back was broken in a mining accident. Daily he sat in his wheelchair drinking in a bar with his friends, cursing terribly. One day a member of the church simply started wheeling the man in his wheelchair to where they held a Bible study session. At first the man was angry but couldn’t do anything. Later the man accepted Jesus as his Saviour. Then he said that the first thing he would say to God when he arrives in heaven is: “Thank you for the rock that fell on me and paralysed me, because otherwise I may never have come to know Jesus.”
Joni Eareckson Tada was very fond of sport. She loved horse-riding and swimming in rivers. One day she dived and broke her neck. She could never walk again. During the many days of suffering in hospital she prayed all along “God, if I can’t die, show me how to live, please!” Later she writes: “When life looks bright, we may be satisfied just knowing of Jesus, imitating and quoting Him and talking about Him. But it’s only in suffering that we shall know Him.” In her book: “Prayer and praise – it’s our journey” she writes: “In times like these it’s easy to complain … But there’s a way out of this spiritual deadlock, and the answer lies in … praise to the Lord”.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a well-known parson who, during the Second World War, spent the last two years of his life in jail for actively opposing Hitler. Two soldiers fetched him. As he left, he said to another prisoner, “This is the end, but for me the beginning of life.” He was hanged the next day. In a prayer he wrote: “I do not understand Your ways, but You know the way for me…Lord, whatever this day may bring, Your Name be praised.”
Paul writes: Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:16 – 18). God doesn’t promise a smooth existence at all times. Note that this text doesn’t read that we must be thankful for everything, but in everything. God promises that He is always with us, thus also in all our heartache and problems: He said: “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you” (Heb. 13:5). No tear that we shed escapes God’s notice. About his arrest by the Philistines, David writes: You have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they listed in your book? (Ps. 56:8).
Lord, we thank You that You love us dearly. Although we don’t always understand certain things that happen to us, we know that You’ll guide us through them. Amen