Blog
October 23, 2019, 1:04 PM

Gratitude!



Gratitude!

             The word comes to mind and to our lips, sometimes in deeper ways than at other moments. Walking the neighborhood, the canal, or Beezley Hill, provides an opportunity to breath-in beauty and wonder of the changing seasons. Life, living, color-filled, and the good along with the disappointing realities in which we face discouragement. God working in the world, in the messiness of life, our lives, and situations.

I wish sometimes that the messes could be more readily addressed. Perhaps we all look for fixes, as we are concerned, worried, and angry. I recall times when I did not care for what God was doing, those situations with setbacks, loss, change, and difficult co-workers. It was humbling and I cannot say that I expressed gratitude. When the crisis passed I could then pray, “Thank God that’s over with!”

It was in the moments when no answer could be found, when my prayers went unanswered, that I would be freed to stop and look around. Missing a meeting, or an appointment, or a class, because of scheduling, intrusions, a flat tire, or a car or bike problem. Rendered helpless asking, “Why God?”

About 10 years ago, I was riding my bicycle to a meeting in town, about 3 ½ miles from our home. The forums speaker was an African American man (though white people also had the same kind of problem) who had been in prison for some time. Released from prison, he found getting back on his feet to be impossible. Little by little, with patience, prayer, and perseverance, God slowly opened doors. Where he would live, what work he could find-unbelievable social realities he faced. He did overcome those barriers, not easily, and not without employer, landlords and city codes changing.

I almost did not make it to the lecture/story. Riding the bicycle on a Missouri highway and rounding a curve, the front tire made friends with an old, bent, rusty nail. My heart sunk with disbelief. Just as I began to remove the front wheel I heard the voice of an African American woman as she pulled up in her car, got out and said “Sir, can I help you – the Lord just told me to stop and offer you help.” Startled and amazed, I felt like I was dreaming. She went on “I am Sister Sandy Thompson. I was just driving down the highway and praising the Lord when he told me to stop for you.” In a few moments after some gracious exchange, I loaded my folding bike into a large car trunk. A “trunk or treat” one might say! Within minutes we were on our way, the Samaritan chatting, praising the Lord, and dropping me and the bike at the white Baptist Church to hear the former prisoner’s story. It was a moment of divine intervention, “my anxious fears subsided” – I too could not help but praise God for Sister Sandy Thompson.

Experiences can be dramatic, but there are so many moments when ordinary days also catch our awareness, causing gratitude for life, leaves, sunlight, beauty, and “others” whom God has graced us with.

I thank God for your being the Church that you are. Every day, your names, faces, and the projects, work, continue to amaze me. 

 

 

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