How About Thanks!

How About Thanks!

 
How Can I Be Thankful When . . ..?
I am minded that many in our country are hurting, vexed, angry, upset, perplexed, distraught, disappointed, and the like. And possibly for valid reasons! Locally, it would seem that the stand off between the Ministry of Education and the Teachers’ Union has intensified, and other unions are also agitating for some rights and/or benefits. Ask the Bahamas Electrical Company staff union, the Taxi Cab Union or the Police Staff Association how they feel, and you are likely to hear many of the answers listed above. It would seem that the Bahamas is on the brink of a national strike. Without question such strife will get the attention of the government and targeted boards and managements. However, it is also likely to get the attention of the world, which may not auger well for a touristic destination like ours; after all, travellers have choices. They can go elsewhere, resulting in less income for the Bahamas.
 
Is There Something I Can Be Thankful For?
While I am not suggesting that there are no wrongs, injustice, broken contracts and legal issues to address, I feel that there must be better ways of remedying differences. Resolutions should be sought and had. But putting aside the stand off or the approach taken on both sides for today may allow for reason to prevail, the lowering of blood pressure possibly resulting in resolution or steps to one.
Generally, when injustice is perceived and persons hurt, it is hard to see God in the picture or for that matter anything good. The usual questions are: “Why Lord?”  “Why me?” “Why don’t you do something Lord?” Has it occurred to you that God does not always resolve our problems the way we think He should? At times, as in the case of Joseph, He allows the problems to run their full course, or as in the case of the three Hebrew young men, He permits us to go through some fiery and unpleasant testing. Notwithstanding much prayer, anointing and superior medical service, He allows a loved one to die. Therefore, the question is begged, “How can I be thankful today given these and other issues?” “Is there some reason for which I may be thankful?”
 
Realizing that God Has a Purpose for My Life
            Returning to the Bible character Joseph, it is clear to me he had a sense that God was with him in all that he was permitted to suffer. This reality led him to “hang in there” maintaining a positive attitude. In his story, there is indication of grudge, jealousy, injustice, and ingratitude toward him. At times he must have wondered where was God? When will He deliver? Some of you have similar questions. I know, for I have asked those questions; but as I reflected on past blessings of deliverance and God’s favor, I was reassured that God would do it again for me. Therefore, I intentionally try to see what good God desires to bring out of any situation that confronts me. Doing this allows me to manifest a thankful disposition. Now that does not mean the trouble has ended or was fixed, but I choose to believe that God will remedy it for me- whether clearing my name, vindicating me, resolving a difficult situation and strengthening me to go through it, or rising above an ordeal. A friend shared with me about a wilderness experience of enduring the pain of false accusation and the accompanying loneliness and ridicule for months. While God did not remove the pain or alter the circumstances, He strengthened the individual so much so that he got a clearer vision of God and saw accusers and those who failed to help in a different light. Today, this person is “light” as burdens have been released, and God is seen as One who delivers in His time. Furthermore, this person is thankful now for the experience of suffering. Can you imagine that? I can!
            Some friends of mine missed their cruise return by mere minutes owing to a misunderstanding of the correct time to return to the ship. It cost them hundreds of dollars in airline fares from the Bahamas to reconnect with their ship. What good did they take from that experience? Well, for one thing, they were happy that it was not missing out on salvation.  And being so close, they wondered as they saw the ship pulling out of the harbor, “Why don’t the captain stop the ship and let us board?”However, their missing the ship allowed them to spend the night with us and, yes, add a few more dollars to the treasury of the Bahamas; but the greatest lesson is that they saw this as a warning not to miss out on eternity. They are grateful people.
 
Thankful Now and Always
            As long as you and I live, there will be problems, disappointments and apparent setbacks. However, as long as we live there will be God who does not change. He is merciful, righteous, long suffering and knows how to deliver His children. It is this fact that moves me to thankfulness, gratitude and a true positiveness that no amount of money can buy or legislation can make possible. Says David in Psalm 63:3, “Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” Accordingly, the person who has this reality lives thankfully- even when he is permitted to suffer affliction, misunderstanding and disappointment, etc. Choose to be thankful each day!