Give Thanks Any way

[reprinted from July 29, 2011]

Be quiet while I speak, then say what you will.
I will be responsible for what happens to me.
God may kill me, but still I will trust him and offer my defense.    Job 13:13-15 (CEV)

Jesus then asked his twelve disciples if they were going to leave him. Simon Peter answered, “Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life. We have faith in you, and we are sure that you are God’s Holy One.” John 6:67-69 (CEV)

The end of another week. Has it been “good”? How would you define “good”? Maybe it hasn’t been so “good”. Maybe it has been a mixture. Most weeks are.

Job had a bad week. Lost his children, his livelihood, and ended up with sores all over his body. If that wasn’t bad enough, he had three friends who thought they were going to show him the error of his ways, explaining why all this had happened to him. Real helpful!

Jesus and his disciples had had “mixed week”. In John’s gospel, Jesus had fed five thousand people and then walked on water in the middle of a storm. His disciples had seen the glory of God manifested in Jesus. But look out! Here comes the Church leadership with their questions and opinions, trying to keep Jesus in their proper place, somewhere below them. Many disciples had left, deciding that following Jesus was too hard. I can relate to that.

In 2002 and 2004 I was on a mission trip to Hungary. I was ministering to people, to children, sharing the Good News of Jesus. During both of these trips, my young son discovered that his cancer had reoccurred. He was in the United States and I was in Hungary. The first time it happened I was understandably upset. He was with his older sister and I knew in my mind that the few days passing until we returned would not alter any treatment options. But I wanted to hug him and hold him. The second time, I was angry. How could God allow this to happen again? And while I was out doing His work??!! (By the way, I think it was just as hard on Henry who was at home with our son, feeling equally as helpless for different reasons and had to notify me of the events.) I went through a “crisis” of faith, wondering if being a disciple was really worth the price.

I came to the same conclusion as Peter. And as Job. Life here on earth isn’t easy but that life without God would be so much harder. It would be life without hope. For me, if I did not have the assurance of Jesus, His love and care in my life; if I did not have the assurance of an eternal life, the Hope of something better, I would give up. Jesus is God. I trust Him. Even though I am flawed and imperfect, Jesus makes it possible for me to have this relationship with my Holy LORD. I will praise Him any way.

Let’s take time this weekend and turn to Psalm 136 and remember what God has done and continues to do.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.    Psalm 136:1 (NIV)






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