Interestingly, we all agreed that it is during difficult times that we seem to see God's goodness and faithfulness to us with the greatest clarity and consequently are moved to deeper gratitude. Yes, we are thankful when life is easy and pleasant, but during trials - health problems, broken relationships, financial hardships - it's as if God strips away all the downy fluff of misplaced affections and security, and He gives us the much greater pleasure and the very greatest security of all - Himself.
My experience has been that God rarely gives me precisely what I want or what I think I need. However, when my desires or expectations have been disappointed, God has consistently given me something better.
I did not ask for a broken relationship, but through it, Jesus taught me that He is an ever faithful friend.
I did not want financial hardship, but through it God showed himself to be my Great Provider.
I hate conflict, but in the midst of conflict I became more intimately acquainted with the Prince of Peace.
Yes, for that I am truly, deeply, eternally thankful.
* * * * *On a somewhat related note...
My 4-H All Star is away at State Round-Up this week. This means that Mom has Lamb Duty: it is my job to make sure the lamb is fed and watered, and I get to take Bertie for a walk every day.
As I wound my way down some of the remoter roads in Obion County this morning on my way to the sheep barn, I listened to the clanking and rattling of my dilapidated van and looked at all the indicator lights blinking on the dashboard and I thought, "God, if I break down out here in the middle of nowhere, how in the world am I going to find anyone to help me?!"
Of course, the van made it out to the sheep barn just fine (otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting here typing right now). I fed and watered the sheep, and Bertie and I enjoyed a leisurely morning stroll in the country.
|Sheep kisses - blech! This is one sweet lamb!|
And I smiled.
I smiled because:
1.) Bertie is so much fun to work with, and
2.) I was so thankful that I was driving a vehicle that I didn't have to feel bad about hauling stinky boots or sacks of lamb feed around in.
It occurred to me as I drove home this morning: my rattle-trap minivan is the PERFECT Lamb Mom transportation!
As I was thinking how glad I was that I didn't have to worry about getting sheep poo on the carpet of a new vehicle, I remembered the conversation from last night, and that made me smile, too.