[This little story is an “aside” follow-up to Does the Right Decision Bring Inner Peace? Part One: Hard Obedience to Clear Commands.]
It’s absurd to thank God for something you don’t like!
But Ephesians 5:20 says do it!
“[Be] …giving thanks always for all things to God the Father…”
Always. For. All. Things.
Not just in all things, like 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says. For all things.
That’s what the seminar speaker was telling us to do, giving example from her own life (an example Ann VosKamp would call “hard eucharisteo”): thanking God for her beloved boyfriend repeatedly two-timing her!
I could see reason for gratitude in this speaker’s case. She should rejoice at losing a guy like that, at learning what he was like before she got tied up permanently with him!
But love being blind, I guess she didn’t see it. So her prayer of thanks for this “bad” thing was wiser than she was, in her own human self.
I didn’t know then that my own similar thanksgiving would turn out wiser than my human feelings, too.
But still possessing the “foolish” wisdom of the fresh new believer, as I sat listening to her I seized the concept for myself, and purposed to put it into practice.
Opportunity arose in quick order…
Four hours of driving, quiet rural roads and crowded superhighways. We’d returned, refreshed, I and my toddler son, from visiting my parents. Now the long driveway that wound among trees welcomed us back to “the little house between two highways” that we’d been calling home for six months.
Just six months.
I’d agreed to a six-month, then month-to-month, lease, because finding any affordable rental had been so nigh impossible, and this little cottage had perfectly answered my prayer for shelter.
The house wouldn’t even have been available except for the owner’s putting the property up for sale and wanting the building available at such short notice. The resident couple, not liking that uncertainty, had decided it was time to press ahead and buy their own place.
So I figured I could trust God to keep such a Godsend for us after the six months expired.
Well, now they had. Expired. Exactly. And now what did I see, as I rounded the curve, but men clambering around with surveyor’s instruments!
“No,” I groaned. “Oh, Lord, no.”
Sighing, I climbed out of the car, unbelted my little one, all along thinking of that seminar and my commitment.
Inside the house a moment later, reluctantly I did it: “All right, Lord,” I said. “Thank you! I thank You surveyors are out there, which means this place is sold! I don’t like this at all!” (as my tone of voice made clear). “But thank You anyway. Thank You!”
I hadn’t learned yet that scripture also says to be grateful. That one I certainly wasn’t following. I didn’t feel grateful. I felt whacked in the face! I felt deflated, defeated, frustrated. But I said thank You anyway, at least.
I waited for the notice, the bad news. A letter. Something.
Nothing came. That week, or the next, or the next.
A knock on the door did one evening, right while I was navigating the challenge of cutting the hair on a constantly moving three-year-old’s head, blond locks scattered everywhere in the disheveled livingroom.
Leaving chain hooked to door jamb, I opened the door enough to see the lanky man who introduced himself as my new landlord-to-be and let me know that I’d be able to continue renting, although no new tenants after me, but of course the rent would go up. Peering around the crack in the doorway to glimpse what he’d bought here, but seeing my mess and occupation, he graciously apologized for “discombobulating” me, and backed away to his car in the shadows.
Another sigh. I could thank God that he’d not boot me out. But could I afford any raise in rent? I could barely pay the bills already.
So I waited for expected changes, notices, letter, phone call, whatever.
Nearly two years passed! Same rent rate, and nothing happening to our little surrounding woods. Now I was moving out and moving on anyway.
So I was talking with the landlady on the phone, and she started to complain.
If only she hadn’t granted this buyer his two requested extensions! Right afterwards, both times, another buyer had appeared, offering full asking price with no contingencies—and the quickest possible closing!
I caught my breath! And thanked my Good Father—with genuine gratitude this time! Thanked him for the buyer those surveyors’ presence had announced, those eighteen months before. Just the perfect buyer!
Now here’s the thing about peace: If I’d known God better, if I’d had more Romans 8:28 and 1 Corinthians 1:25 faith in the first place, I would have had more inner peace, wouldn’t I?
Have you ever thanked God for something you just plain didn’t like?
10 thoughts on “Obeying the “Absurd””
God does work things together for good to them who love the Lord. We have had similar things happen, but God stepped in and took care of us. Thank you for sharing at “Tell Me a Story.”
It is amazing, isn’t it, Hazel, how He steps in like that, even when we can’t see it till later? What an amazing God we serve! (I wonder how often He has intervened and we *never* recognized it!) Thanks for visiting and commenting.
After I was in the divorce process, which was all that was saving the mental and physical issues for my kids [and me], and was put in the need to move back to Omaha from Oklahoma where we’d been for 2 years, and the necessity to find a job and all that heavy-duty needfulness on an immediate basis, I was a bit exhausted and confused. Wasn’t sorry to be back in Omaha, since I had a large number of friends who were really good backup people, but still didn’t know what would happen to me.
WELL, while in OK, I had heard the Lord tell me He was sending me His representative. I certainly had no idea when or how or who. I was a frustrated Mom… even though I had office jobs, I had not enough money to take care of my kids, pay the bills, meet their needs as they were further in their schools [Renae was in 10th grade, Steve in 6th], etc. Friends would drop money/checks off for me and/or clothes and food on my steps and that really helped. I DID try to trust the Lord to pull me through. And, yes, three guys were dropped into my life and seemed to fit — we never really dated, but just had connections through churches, ministries, or friends. But there was always some kind of negative issue that hit the surface.
THEN, exactly a year after I’d hit the divorce and separation and had heard that word from the Lord about His representative, Dave was dropped in. With our age difference [he’s 14 years younger (was 25) and had been single], and our personalities being so opposite [he was very introverted and I am an extreme extrovert], and ministry focuses that went other directions, we wouldn’t have imagined this. YET, God was so exact in putting us together we knew it immediately, although nervously. We were engaged in less than 2 weeks and married in 4 months, and have been in that place for 27 years now as of last month. He was a great step-dad, even though only 10 years older than my daughter. [She’s 43 today; he was 53 last Saturday.] He provided much treatment for my son who had become an alcoholic by the age of 14 after we’d been married only 2 years. And I no longer have had to work just to hit the basics of our lives… food, house pmt, utilities, car repairs and gas, etc. AND, as I posted on the Tell… Story, God dropped in travel to Africa and our God-job together over there for a stretch of time to help others. I was filled with a rejoicing heart.
NOW… my question. My health has been hitting my tail more [some people just assume it’s “age”, but I don’t like to make that assumption], energy reducing significantly, ministry activities being dropped — except the Bhutanese refugees and First Responders at murder sites. So, I’m hitting that spot you described. WHY? WHEN? HOW? WHAT???? But all I can do is trust HIM. And TRY to rejoice over the fact that life has changed. [One huge blessing: My husband treats me with grace and kindness and appreciation; his love for me has not changed.]
Sorry to drop such a long one in to answer your question, BUT you asked. Just happened to hit me at this very moment in time. 😉
He does that so often, doesn’t He, hits us just at the right moments with just the right messages, questions, or thoughts? No problem with long comments here. You have quite a story. And it seems we have a few things in common, too! I would like to be praying for you, including that God will guide you to the information that you need about your health. Thanks for visiting and sharing your story.
This is so good. So.Good. You’re really stretching me here. I don’t think I’ve done a good job of thanking God for things I don’t like. But you provide solid Scriptural evidence for why we should. Thank you. Such mentoring words here.
I don’t thank Him often enough for things I don’t like either, still complain too much and too often. And after happenings like that (which is not the only example) you’d think I would have learned better! I write pieces like this one to remind myself.
Thanks for your visit and comment. Blessings.
I found these words through God Bumps. I have been struggling with my health for several months now. Diabetes , and all of a sudden I get extreme virtigo. Im 44 years old and have a 31/2 year old at home. My first thought was Why me! I cant imagine a purpose for this strange illness. I have to take medicine that make me sleepy, do exercises that make the dizzy even worse. I feel like im falling off the world. And yet I put a roast in the oven , a dvd in for my little one and read this post. Thank you God for all you have given me, even the stuff I really dont like.
Amen, Lori. I pray that somehow He brings some special blessing out of this unpleasant and hindering thing, in the immediate future, or over time. So glad you stopped over here to visit and comment.
Excellent post re: being thankful in all situations. Not easy to be thankful in the midst of a difficult situation and sometimes it takes a little time to see the blessing in such, but yes, I have seen good come out of a bad situation and being thankful ahead of time (instead of at the time of the blessing) made it all the more precious.
We can hardly ever see the good in the bad situations at the time, can we? But yes, in retrospect I see that the *worst* happenings in my life brought the biggest, richest, long-term blessings. And yes, if we can think to give thanks, even *be* thankful ahead of time, it makes it “all the more precious.”
So glad you stopped to leave this comment.
Comments are now closed.