Since last fall, my husband and I have stepped up to new and bigger ministry responsibilities. And God has blessed us with prosperity and success. After all, that’s what happens, right? Well, no, not really. Rather than sunshine and roses, we seem to have gotten rainclouds and sniffles…and bills.
First, we each got a nasty chest virus that lasted for about six weeks. Then I got a stomach virus.
Then we had to replace a huge chunk of our roof. Cha-ching!! Out went a ton of money.
Then one child was diagnosed with asthma. Enter twice daily inhalers.
Then the next child got strep throat. Three days later, she began getting hives with certain foods. A month later, she was diagnosed with serious allergies that included food. Now we carry epi-pens. (Our kids had NEVER had food allergies before!)
Then the same child got strep TWO more times in the next two months.
Then our three-year-old freezer died. Completely. No warning.
Is this what’s supposed to happen when you serve God?
Well, yes. When God is doing something in you that is a threat to the enemy, the enemy doesn’t take it lying down. He attacks. Hard.
But what Satan means to harm us or slow us down, God will use for our good. Satan wants to thwart God’s plans, but God is stronger and better.
Recently I was having a talk with God. I was frustrated about the latest in the long line of expensive and inconvenient troubles. I vented my anger, my sense of helplessness, and then begged God to sell some of the cattle he owns and provide for our needs. (Remember the song, “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine”?)
Suddenly, I was reminded to thank God for His blessings. So I did. One by one, I recalled the good things in that situation.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Thank Him and bless His name.Psalm 100:4 ISVA few minutes later, I felt God stir deep in my soul. “I love you, Carol. I will take care of your problem. I want you to bless you because you are my child.” The words were so clear that tears streamed from my eyes. My Father loves me. He wants to lavish me with good gifts. He sees me. He hears me.
I believe it was gratitude that opened my ears to God’s voice. Now I can look back on all these troubles that have been plaguing us and see where God is turning them around for His purposes.
When I got sick, I lost some weight…and it has stayed off. Thank you, God!
Our roof no longer leaks. Thank you, God!
Our children’s health issues have rekindled a couple relationships as I seek ways to help them. Thank you, God!
We finally figured out where the multiple strep infections were coming from. Thank you, God!
We had come to the end of our usable salmon stash, so we really didn’t lose a lot of food when our freezer died. And friends had given us an old side-by-side refrigerator, so we had room to store the rest of the food. Thank you, God!
This last weekend, I cleaned out the Alaskan winter grime that had accumulated in our minivan. As I was vacuuming the floor boards, I noticed all the wires under the dash board. I realized that I had no idea what any of them do, but they work. I thought about all the components under the hood. All the little parts of the that minivan work–99% of the time. It’s not a luxury vehicle by any measure, but it works. Thank you, God, for all the times this van does not break down!
No matter where my troubles come from, God has a greater plan to use them for my good.
Maybe all these troubles have come from the enemy. Or maybe they are just coincidence or the result of living in a sin-cursed world. This time, He is teaching me to notice all the things going right, to fully appreciate the health He has given us, to acknowledge the unnoticed blessings.
Lord, help me to really stop to thank you for the little gifts you give me each day. Help me to live in an attitude of thanksgiving and praise. I don’t want to take your blessings for granted. Forgive me for my past ingratitude.
I don’t have to be thankful for troubles, but I do have to be thankful in the troubles. This is God’s plan for me.