"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
I was stunned.
I was kneeling down, playing with the dogs after walking in the door from a long day of work, and I heard something that made me forget about my crummy day, and those nutty dogs.
"Are you done playing with the dogs yet?"
"I can be, why?"
"Because, I'm pregnant".
This news was amazing, exciting, and petrifying all at once. I looked into my wife's face and knew in an instant that she was serious. This was a moment that we thought would never come, and just another example of what God will do when you let him.
This is the type of moment that all parents remember. I still remember every detail about that moment. Where I was standing after I got up off the floor., where the dogs were, the look in my wife's eyes that pleaded with me; "Please be as excited as I am", her tear stained glasses. I remember every bit of it as if it just happened. What I didn't remember, in that moment, although I did later, was what it took; rather Who it took; to get us to this point.
Due to multiple medical issues, we were never supposed to be able to have kids. We tried treatments and schedules and every cockamamie, cockeyed contraption you can think of. Nothing worked. We gave up, but God didn't. He, as always, had a plan.
I'd like to be able to tell you that I immediately gave God all the glory and praise for this wonderful event. But I can't. I didn't think of Him until later, when the excitement of the moment had abated, and we had made the requisite phone calls letting people know that they were going to be aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, pops' and wiggies (yes, my son calls my mother "Wiggie", deal with it).
Other resources on thankfulness
The power of being thankful
It was only much later, when I realized how inadequate I was to handle everything that was coming, did I pray. Even then, I didn't offer the gratitude that was due to Him. No other power, or medicine or procedure could have created what was growing inside my wife, and I never even offered a thank you. Not until much later, at least.
I recall that my prayers at the time were something sophisticated and intellectual, and went something like this:
Why does God instruct us to give thanks? So he can hog the credit? So he can get the ego boost that the Lord of everydadgumthingthateverexisted needs from us? No. I think that Our Father instructs us to be thankful because in giving thanks, we come to understand that thing that we are giving thanks for on a deeper level. If I had stopped in that moment, and uttered a prayer of thanks that we were having a child, after all we'd (especially my incredible wife) had been through, I would have understood. It would have become real to me just how incredible this was, and what an unbelievable journey I was about to embark on. Taking a few moments to give thanks would have made this time even more incredible and fulfilling than it already was. It also would have allowed me to be more prepared for what was to come.
I think this is also why the Bible instructs us to give thanks in ALL circumstances, not just the ones we like. If I can find it in my heart to say:
"Thank you Lord, that this bozo just nearly ran me off the road on my way to work"…Then I can start to think about that bozo. What kind of day is he having that's leading to him driving like that?. So now I'm praying "Lord, I hope you'll keep the bozo from killing himself trying to get wherever he's going. I sure hope it's not an emergency.” Then maybe we can get to “Lord, I'm sure that person is having a tough morning. I pray that you'll keep him safe and watch over him"
See how that works? When you genuinely thank Him for the things that are going on in your life, even the small, mundane, ridiculous things, it opens us up to opportunities to see situations more aligned with how God sees them. What I've also found is that in giving thanks for the things in my life, my faith is strengthened by the remembrance of those things. From “Thank you Lord, for giving me a son”, to “I don't know how we're going to make the mortgage payment this month, but I've already seen what you can do, so I'm trusting you to show me what you want me to do”.
I think we (or maybe just me) tend to gloss over thankfullness when we pray or when we look at what God does for us. I've found that it may be the most important step to leading us to a deeper relationship with Him.
Praise You in this Storm- Casting Crowns
My other articles on prayer and Christianity
I want to talk a little bit about faith today. The Bible says that faith is "the substance of things hoped for...the evidence of things not seen". What does that mean?
- Love thy Neighbor
I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of a Holy God. I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins...and for your sins and the sins of everyone who has lived or will live. No matter who they are.
- What does the Bible say about Love?
If you wonder whether God loves you, or about the nature of His love, you will find useful information here.
- How to Pray
Have you ever wondered why some prayers are effective, and others aren't? Or whether God hears your prayers?
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