Posted by: pastortomvabeach | November 18, 2015

Thought for the Week November 22, 2015

As we approach the week of Thanksgiving, I was thinking of how we typically render our gratitude to the Lord. In my experience we usually tell others or ask them to tell us what things we are thankful for. That question results in long lists of answers ranging from being grateful for air to breath, for life, for family, etc., to things of a spiritual nature such as salvation, grace, God’s presence, etc. This is all good and we can’t go wrong in regularly counting our blessings and giving thanks in everything (I Thessalonians 5:18).

As I thought about this, I began to wonder whether we every take notice of things that could have happened but didn’t and thanked God for His providence and protection. Psalm 121:5-7 in the New Living Translation reads, The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. Psalm 91:1-3 also NLT, Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him. For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.

Now we understand this doesn’t mean that we will go through life and never suffer an injury or sickness or other kind of malady. We live in a world that is corrupted by sin and, unless Jesus returns beforehand, we will leave this world for heaven through physical death. Jesus even said, Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. (John 16:33), so we know we are not exempt from those difficulties that all mankind face. But if you read the rest of that verse you see He also said, But take heart, because I have overcome the world. What He is saying is that this world’s trials are not worthy of comparison to the kind of life He has given us through faith in His completed work on the cross. Eternal life lasts a whole lot longer than the temporary stuff we’ll face here.

Anyway, back to my original thought. While we are not spared all of life’s troubles, did you ever stop to think about the troubles you haven’t had to mess with lately? Considering that thought, I realized that I have never, as far as I can recall, had a flat tire while driving. That doesn’t mean that I never will, but up to now it hasn’t happened. I can’t remember the last time I had a cold. I’ve never had a house fire as an adult. My brother burned down our house when I was five but, thank God, that hasn’t happened to me since. I’ve never been in a flood or faced bankruptcy or been without a job. Can you see how listing the unwanted experiences in our lives can bring out a real sense of gratitude? All of these things may one day happen and do happen to many people, but up to now, I believe God has protected me.

I’ve heard testimonies of people who missed being in terrible auto accidents by a split second, even to the extent that it looked as if God moved the car. With the terrible news abounding around the world today, we can be grateful, again up to now, that our friends, families, neighbors, etc., have not been the target of a terrorist attack.

I know some of these are pretty scary things and I also know that some of the things I have been shielded from have happened to some of you. What I would guess, though, is that there are other unwanted experiences that maybe happened to me that haven’t happened to you. How might your gratitude to the Lord grow if you just began to list all that He’s kept you from just in the last month or year or so?

Can you say with the Psalmist that you give thanks because The LORD himself watches over you and because He alone is my refuge, my place of safety. Maybe this Thanksgiving when it’s time to go around the table to tell all for which we give thanks, we could also tell the things from which God has protected us and be thankful there, too! Just a thought.

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