“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”
I know of a person who was given the grace of a grateful heart. She blessed the name of God for whatever He gave or allowed in her life. She also blessed His name for whatever He denied or took away. At her workplace, it was very typical for people to complain about work or some physical pain. Since she never complained about anything, her co-workers noticed and remarked about it. She simply said, “I’m grateful for my life.”
I think that we should all strive to be more grateful to God for everything and at all times – including for things that do not seem good. Why? Because He is good.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.”
It is an act of faith to be grateful to God. If we have faith in God’s great love for us, then anything that He allows or takes away is for our own good. Even the trials and sufferings that we go through come from the loving hand of a Father who knows what our souls need. It is also good to remember amidst our trials that His grace is always sufficient.
An alcoholic may need to lose his family, his job, and his health to sober up. To grow in humility, God may allow for us to be corrected in front of others or to experience some humiliation. Even the countless feedings and diaper changes (especially in the middle of the night) serve as opportunities to be more self-sacrificing.
Right after I joined my husband in the United States, I had to earn my master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology in order to work. With very little money saved, we thought that the only way for us to afford the expensive tuition was to get a student loan. After I got accepted at a university, my husband and I were shocked to find out that I did not qualify for a loan because I had a dependent’s visa instead of a student visa. However, in order to obtain a student visa, I should be able to show I am financially capable of paying for my tuition. But I wasn’t financially capable, which is why I needed to borrow the money in the first place!
It was tempting to give in to despair when it seemed that I had no other options left but I put my faith in God. In the end, we found that we could pay the tuition in monthly installments. We also had to really tighten our belts and use credit cards for my school supplies. For two and a half years or so, we also gave up the simplest of luxuries – juice, ice cream, movies, books, clothes, etc.
Looking back, I realized that what happened was the best outcome. My husband and I had a lot less debt than if we had a student loan. Our faith and trust in God’s providence and wisdom increased. We also learned to become more detached to material things which made us more free to love God and His will more than anything.
One practice that our family tries to practice during prayer at mealtimes is to thank God for at least one thing. Some of the things the children have thanked God for include the Church, Jesus dying for them, their life, family, dolls, milk, books, grapes, and pizza. I suggest developing this daily practice as part of your prayer life. Instead of thanking God for the “usual” things like family, work, your health or your possessions, try to meditate about your day and how God blessed you in a very specific way.
“Thank You for the beautiful sunrise that greeted me on my way to work!”
“I bless Your name for another day that I get to care for my husband and children.”
“Thanks be to God for the grace to truly forgive that person who has unjustly accused me of something.”
“I praise you Lord for sending us that person to help financially that we may learn to imitate your poverty and love.”
I believe that everything is a blessing. God does not owe us anything but He has chosen to bestow on us so many undeserved graces out of the goodness of His heart. Am I refusing to see reality by thinking this way? On the contrary, I think it’s the opposite.
True, I was in so much pain and discomfort from a major surgery to take out a huge cyst but God doesn’t owe me my life. I am just grateful to have another day. Sure, it can get really tough teaching a child with autism when he is kicking and screaming and spitting at you but God doesn’t owe me my job. I am just grateful to put food on the table and make a difference in a child’s life. And yes, I am usually bone tired and have very little time left in the day for myself after working and caring for my husband and three children but God doesn’t owe me my family. I am just grateful for the opportunity to love and serve them. I only hope that I will forever sing of God’s infinite goodness and mercy.
“In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
- 1 Thes 5:18
Written by Christmas Pammit for worldurbanista.com
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own.
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Christmas is blessed to be a wife, mother, and speech-language pathologist. Besides helping her students learn to communicate, she enjoys having long talks with her husband, playing with her children, reading good books, and singing like a pro when she’s alone or with her family. Born and raised in the Philippines, she is now happily raising her three children in New York with her husband.