Gratitude; May 18, 2021

1 Kings 17:18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”

People are interesting. Not so long before this, the woman had been expecting to die along with her son, either by starvation or suicide, (verse 12) but was rescued by God through Elijah. Now that her son has died, she forgets about that and blames his death on Elijah. We all tend to be like that. This woman at least references her sin, but still forgets that her very existence is by the grace of God. We do that all the time. We read books about “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People” and generally accuse God of being mean, even if not in so many words. That the woman was distraught at her son’s death is certainly understandable, but she completely forgot gratitude. In this particular instance God demonstrated His grace and power and responded to Elijah’s prayer, reviving the boy, but what about the situations where that doesn’t happen? Jesus was very clear that, living in a fallen world, we can’t expect everything to go smoothly all the time. In the same breath, he told us to take heart, because He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) As in so many things, the key is gratitude. If we take good things for granted, we fail to appreciate how good they are. It is always interesting to me to watch tourists and locals together, seeing how the tourists exclaim over beautiful and/or interesting things, and how the locals get tired of the tourists! We often have to leave home to appreciate our home! Too often, we don’t even appreciate people properly until they are taken from us, and when that happens, we are all too prone to blame God, as happened in this story. The key to greatest happiness is to ask God for eyes to see how good He has already been to us, not to demand this, that, or the other thing that we don’t currently have.

This is something I’m learning more and more the longer I live. I’ve already lived several years longer than my father did, and I’m about to pass my mother as well. That has given me gratitude for each day the Lord gives me to serve Him, even as I look forward eagerly to being with Him more directly for eternity. Around the time I passed my father’s age at death, 64, I was rather obsessed with it all, which was hardly easy on my wife. Likewise, she had a time not long ago when she thought she wouldn’t be here much longer. That wasn’t easy on me! However, even if either of us were to “graduate” today, we would still have 52 years of enormous blessings together to be grateful for. We have assorted challenges related to the advancing calendar, and the world around us is certainly a mess, so we really need to focus on our Lord who has already overcome the world, including our limited, physical bodies. His grace is indeed sufficient for us, just as He told Paul. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for yesterday and all it held. Thank You for keeping Cathy safe as she drove, despite her dizziness. Thank You that we had some medication specifically for that. Thank You for the progress she’s been able to make on the Japanese index for our songs. I do ask Your healing for the physical pain she’s in right now. She has entirely too much of that, in my opinion, but I don’t see everything, and I trust You. Thank You that we were able to make a hotel reservation to commemorate our anniversary coming up. I pray that there would be minimal distractions to our gratitude, as we rejoice over Your overwhelming goodness toward us. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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