Tuesday, November 14, 2006

In Other Words...

"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best...
when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things."
~ George MacDonald~

For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
~Romans 6:23~

In this familiar Bible verse, we usually think of "eternal life" as something that will begin when we die, don't we?

But "the gift of God is...life"! It's life that will continue forever, but it certainly includes the here-and-now.

How many of us are in such a hurry to get to the next thing in life that we don't receive the precious gift of the moment in which we are living? As the dead Emily asks the Stage Manager in the play Our Town, “Do human beings ever realize life while they live it?”

Perhaps the only way to realize life as we live it is to constantly give thanks for it. A habit of breathing thanks to God throughout the day is a way of consciously receiving God's gifts, finding Him in them and ultimately, finding them all to be in Him.

"Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of a little girl to hold," I pray silently, my nose buried in her fine hair as she opens one of the books she has selected for me to read.

"Thank you, Lord, for this 'little buster,' " I say aloud as I hold Bitty Bantam tight before laying him down for his nap. "Help him go night-night now." (That last bit is primarily for Bitty Bantam's benefit.)

"Thank you, Lord, for this day," we pray together most mornings.

"Thank you," we say to each other, "for your hard work, for babysitting, for making dinner, for including your little brother, for picking up my drycleaning...I thank God for you!"

But the Scriptures say, "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." And to realize life as we live it is to embrace the difficulties of life as well--and to find God in them:

"Thank you, Lord, for this illness. Thank you for the reminder to depend on You and not trust in my own strength."

"Thank you, Lord, for this financial setback. May I grow in my trust in Your provision, and may I learn greater financial discipline during this time."

"Thank you, Lord, for this difficult person in my life. Thank you for the opportunity to grow in love and prayer for them. Thank you for using them to show me things about myself I don't normally like to see. Thank you for the opportunity to let You work on me through this relationship."

"Thank you, Lord, for this trial, and for the character and maturity You want to increase in me through it."

We need to recognize all gifts, even trials--especially trials!--as coming from God if we want to receive each gift "at its own best." We may have to look hard, but He is there--Emmanuel, God with us--in the gift of every moment of our lives.


MiPa said...

oh...I needed to be reminded to see the gift in the trials. Thank you!

Ame said...

i love thanking God for my girls as i hold them and nuzzle my nose in their hair while we read books, too :)

Sissy B. said...

Our trains of thought were very similar as we interpreted this particular quote...I know that God's greatest gifts to me are the trials...you are correct...they help us to look at ourselves in such a way that we aren't likely to do during the good times.

Anonymous said...

Our Town is on e of my very favorite plays! Is CYT considering doing it?

I think lots of people realize life while they're in it - I know I do, and at times it is painfully overwhelming.

Again, awesome post, Jeannie.


Amydeanne said...

Funny you should post about trials. I wrote an email to my friend the other night about giving thanks in trials, but I didn't think of it as a gift! Thank-you for exposing that to me!
hehe.. you snuggle batman.. I snuggle spiderman hehe

The Imperfect Christian said...

This was one of the biggest lessons I have learned. I have to slow down and enjoy the here and now without rushing onto the future. The present is what matters the most, it's what I need to focus on and give thanks for!

Christine said...

So true! Blessings and trials all deserve our attention since God forms us from all the events of our lives!

eph2810 said...

Thank you so much for sharing that. I think I could have used a 'thank you' for the difficult person in my life today to grow. Your thank you's to the Lord make perfect sense. I will have to remember that next time I am encountering a difficult person in my life.