“Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).
As stories go, the following story went like this: “There was a blind girl who hated herself because of her blindness. Not only did she hate herself but she hated everyone else, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.
“One day someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she could see everything—including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, ‘Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?’ The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her that simply said, ‘Just take care of my eyes dear.’”
Take a step back and review your life. If you keep a diary, try reviewing what you recorded in it. Now, listen to the news, read the papers, have a chat with your neighbor. Listen to the news again. Now, make a comparison between your situation and what you are hearing or reading in the news. I am talking about context. Do you think yours is the worst? So, why do we change when our status changes? As far as I am concerned, only a minority seem to remember what life used to be like before it all changed. And even worse, it is astounding that a far less number of people remember who to thank, whether for always having been there, being there a few times or even for being there the one time that they most needed help. In the Bible, Jesus asked the one leper who returned to thank Him after He had healed ten of them, “Where are the nine?”
“One of them came back to Jesus, shouting, “Glory to God, I’m healed!” He fell flat on the ground in front of Jesus, face downward in the dust, thanking Him for what He had done…Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the nine?” (Luke 17:15-17).
What is your state now? Instead of complaining that God has hidden Himself from you why not give Him thanks for not having revealed so much of Himself?
Instead of complaining about every struggle you face in life, why not be grateful that you are being challenged and simultaneously being taught lessons about life?
Instead of complaining about you do not have or what it is that you cannot have, why don’t you think about, and be grateful for what you have and own and which everyone else may be lacking?
Further, think about these. Before you utter a mean and unkind word, think first; think of someone who is mute and can’t speak. Before you complain about the taste of your food, think of someone who has nothing to eat. Are you single? Don’t complain about being unmarried. Are you complaining about your husband or wife? Consider those who are crying out to God for a spouse. Are you complaining about your children? If you can’t think of anyone who’s trying to have children but is barren, then remember King David’s wife Michal.
Are you complaining about traffic? Look out your car window at those waiting in the sweltering heat or bone-chilling cold for the bus or, those walking the same distance that you are going with their bare feet (okay maybe they have on flip-flops). Are you still complaining about your job? Have you forgotten about how hard you were praying for a job? Or, think of those who just got laid off because of the economic “downturn”. Did you say “Our house is too small”? First, think of the sans abri, the homeless. Am I making sense here?
Are you complaining of a broken heart? Be thankful for every single beat of that broken heart because while the pain is a reminder that you are alive, someone sick and dying would love to trade places with you. Be thankful that you have the strength to soldier on.
Before the “Proposed prayer,” why not consider this, that “As a child of the King, I am blessed with everything I need. However, I am working seriously towards everything I want so I can share with everyone around me who is in need. But most of all, I appreciate who I am and grateful to God for all His provision.
Proposed prayer: “Heavenly Father, whether I live in Australia or Zambia, there is so much for me to be grateful to You for but sometimes, I fail to count my many blessings. You are not even asking me to name them one-by-one, just that be thankful. Please forgive me for nagging and complaining about what I don’t have. From now, I want to be grateful for every little thing so please teach me to say “Thank you” for this article and for hearing and answering my prayers, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”