It was one of those unforgettable moments. I was driving to the hospital on my way to visit Cindy. I remember entering into a period of intense whining. I am a good whiner—some might say even a professional. It was during a particularly dark time in this lengthy ordeal with my beautiful wife’s life-threatening illness. In the midst of my complaining He spoke. It was a tender voice that I knew immediately was my precious Lord. He said, Vince do you have anything in your life for which you are thankful?
Talk about a change of thought process and direction. I knew this was from our wonderful Savior—the very Person who holds all of our circumstances in the palm of His hand. I immediately went into a chorus of things I was thankful for—here is a partial list as best as I can remember:
I thank you Lord for:
- The special relationship Cindy and I, along with our extended family, have with each other and with you
- For two of the best daughters any dad could ever have
- Son-in-laws that love you and extend that love to our daughters and six very special grandchildren
- How you are watching over us and extending a supernatural sense of peace through this struggle
- The myriad of friends who have, are, and will continue praying for Cindy through this difficulty
- The unusual sacrificial giving we have experienced and that our future in this area is truly in your hands
- The special future you have already planned for us
- Your incredible outpouring through the ministry you have given Cindy and me and the tens of thousands of lives that have been impacted
- Who you are—the GREAT I AM
I am persuaded that one of the very special and pleasing things our Lord experiences happens when we thank Him in the midst of our greatest struggles. It is a powerful demonstration of taking our focus off of our own pain and letting Him know how much we love Him. It is not always easy, however. The flesh is very powerful and the enemy of our soul is always right there telling us what a victim we are and how God really isn’t around to help.
Dear friends please allow me to challenge you during this special season. Ask God to help you see your struggles through His eyes. Sometimes the best way to do that is to make a list and begin to recite those things in your life that you are thankful for. I know that some times it is hard to see them through the pain but you must. Trust me on this—it is impossible to thank God for your blessings and whine at the same time—I know—I tried it.
In my morning devotionals I came across this poignant reminder from Streams In The Desert:
Wait in quiet patience. Never complain about what you believe to be the cause of your problems, as the children of Israel did against Moses. Accept your situation exactly as it is and then simply place it with your whole heart into the hand of your covenant God. And while removing any self-will, say to Him, “Lord, ‘Not my will, but yours be done’ [Lk 22:42]. I do not know what to do, and I am in great need. But I will wait until You divide the flood before me or drive back my enemies. I will wait even if You keep me here many days, for my heart is fixed on You alone, dear Lord. And my spirit will wait for You with full confidence that You will still be my joy and my salvation, ‘for you have been my refuge, [and] a strong tower against the foe’ [Ps 61:3].” from Morning by Morning
I want to close with my favorite verse, 2Chr. 5:13 The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud…
What a powerful and beautiful picture of how our heavenly Father literally enters the temple as the result of our praise and thankfulness. Dear ones, remember that Jesus came and died for you and me. When He left the Bible says the temple curtain was rent. This now means He literally comes into our very being—WOW!
Cindy and I are so thankful for all of you. May the Lord richly bless you during this Thanksgiving season.