So, where are you today?
Did you stub your toe, stumble into the dog who bit you, yell at the kids only to be yelled at by your spouse?
Is today a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad..."?
You know what that makes you?... Normal.
In the midst of every turmoil, may we all know God is present and active in providential, sustaining love!
Scripture:Acts 28 After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta. 2 The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us around it. 3 Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood and was putting it on the fire, when a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.
Observation:Wow, what terrible luck! Paul survives a shipwreck, in a way that changes the way his captors perceive him; only to find that there are natives there friendly to his presence and survival; only to find that he can contribute to that survival in a meaningful way; only to find plentiful firewood; only to kindle a fire; only to have a snake leap out of the fire and bite him.
One way to look at this story is to say, "what terrible luck!". Another way to look is to say, "what incredible providence!" One assumes that our lives and safety are a given and then curses the gods or luck when things don't break our way; the other is steeped in a deep practice of gratitude that recognizes that all we have - in fact, all we are - is a gift of God's providential love.
I know which way is more lively and fun, do you? I mean, have you experimented with radical thankfulness? It has power to change your whole outlook. Paul might even say it has the power of anti-venom.
I am so thankful for the people in my life that have exposed me to the "shovel" of gratitude. It can be so much more than simply a fleeting feeling that overcomes us on our birthdays, or at the birth of a child. It can be an intentional practice that helps us to know God's presence with us, even in the most dire of circumstances.
It makes me think of that amazing film, "Life is Beautiful". A man and his son are sent together to a concentration camp in world war two. The son survives, because of his father's resolute will to practise joy based in gratitude.
So, where are you today? Did you stub your toe, stumble into the dog who bit you, yell at the kids only to be yelled at by your spouse? Is today a "no good, terrible, lousy day..."? You know what that makes you?... Normal. But, in the midst of every turmoil, may we all know God is present and active in providential, sustaining love!