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Choosing to Give Thanks

There are days, weeks, even, when my natural reaction is not one of thanksgiving or praise.  On Monday morning when I connected to the internet, the first thing I found out was of the death of a young man just a few years younger than Suzanne and who had been in the same youth group as our kids in one of our supporting churches.  Then the week ended with churches and Christian schools as well as businesses and homes owned by Christians being burnt in three different cities in Niger.  

How can I give thanks for those things?  It's interesting that "rejoice in the Lord always" and "in all things give thanks" are not "if you feel like it" sometimes, maybe statements.  They are commands.  And it's hard.  I think the key word here is to have "joy" which is not to be confused with happiness, silliness, or frivolity.  It means to see how God is present in the situation.

For example, I remember the smiles this young man who died so young shared with everybody.  Wherever he went, he brought joy.  I'm not saying his life was easy or that he didn't have struggles, but he loved people and it showed.  

This weekend was tragic here in Niger, but we can be thankful that buildings and not lives were targeted.  We can look forward to see how God will rebuild, how churches will be unified, how God will use this to bring glory to His name.  There is still hope and for that I can be thankful.

Sometimes it seems that giving thanks for a cup of hot Milo is frivolous, but there are pastor's wives this morning who would have been thankful to be able to come up with a cup to give their children a hot drink.  A warm blanket may seem like a given, but so many people slept last night without one.  I never want to take little things for granted. So here is my thankful list for this week.

Sunday -- I finally had time (or maybe I should say MADE time) to catch up on some letter writing.  I'm thankful for people who still send us "real letters".

Monday -- I'm thankful I had a few weeks to get up whenever I felt like it, but I'm equally thankful to get back into my routine. Yep, that's a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call.

Tuesday -- I've discovered my best time to get some exercise is early in the morning.  Exercise isn't something I really enjoy, so if I plan to do it later in the day, it just doesn't get done.  If I do it first, then it's done. I'm thankful I've found the right time for me to take my daily walk.

Wednesday -- I'm thankful that we're back to having weekly Bible studies.  We had almost a month off for Christmas, New Years, and our conference.

Thursday -- One of my friends, Joy, has cancer.  She's currently in the US undergoing chemo.  We ladies here in Niger each have a bracelet to wear to remind us to pray for her.

Friday -- A cup of hot Milo, yum yum!  I'm thankful it's cool enough for this comforting drink.  I don't drink it much when it gets hot.

Saturday -- Saturday was a dark, difficult day.  I spent the day staying in touch with people by phone and internet.  I'm thankful we had phone service all day and that I didn't run out of credit.  

Sunday -- It sure is nice to need to use a blanket on our bed.  I'm thankful for cool nights and warm blankets.Your prayers for the country are appreciated.  Pray for God's name to be glorified and for attitudes of love and forgiveness.
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