Restored

I was just thinking about Mark 9, where Jesus is about to cast an unclean spirit from a boy who has been inhabited by it for years. Jesus has just seen the boy convulsing and asks: “How long has this been happening to him?”
The boy’s father answers “since childhood,” and explains a little more about the nature of his affliction. Then he asks Jesus “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus responds “’If you can?’ All things are possible for one who believes.”
The father realizes who he’s talking to and says, “I believe! Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:20-24)

I think that’s how we are with gratitude sometimes. Our kids are ungrateful, and we throw up our hands. Or we’re ungrateful if the circumstances aren’t to our liking. We tell ourselves we don’t have anything to be grateful for, because life is too hard.

Sometimes it is hard, and in those times it can be difficult to feel gratitude. And we forget what we believe and who we believe in.

That happened to me over the past few months, and one day it occurred to me to say “I believe, help my unbelief.” Or perhaps said another way, “I’m grateful, help my lack of gratitude.” Which really means help my selfishness.
God has been allowing me to know I have plenty to be grateful for.

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Life can and will be extremely hard at times. Sometimes things are profoundly dire, and it can seemingly go on forever. It can eat up the years, and what we are left with sometimes is a crappy attitude and a huge pile of years and wounds and lies we believe about God.

Then we have Joel 2:25, which is not exactly the most commonly used verse of encouragement in scripture. But God has promised restoration. “I will repay you for the years the locust has eaten…”

Belief can be restored.

Gratitude can be restored.

The vast pile of years, destroyed by the locusts of life and littering your life with desiccated corpses, can be restored.

Not by you, man. Not by anything you’ve done.

By God.

Years don’t magically return. You’re still old, and you’ve still had a rough life. Restoration is not the same as returned.

He will restore to us the years the locust has eaten. We can look forward instead of behind.

All things are possible for one who believes.

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Morning Gratitude #23

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought of to be grateful for when I got out of bed was that my feet didn’t hurt. Courtesy of a couple bone spurs, I usually have a fair amount of discomfort when I stand up in the morning, but not today. I suppose a little foot pain is what I get for being a giant.

I’m grateful that it’s cool out. I’ve been done with this summer for quite a while.

I’m grateful my wife constantly spurs me on in every way, and never grows weary of doing good.

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Morning Gratitude #22

Not really thinking clearly this morning, but I can sleep on the way to work, I guess. Anyway, this is another one of those days where I need to think a little about feeling grateful. That’s ok, it gets my mind going in the appropriate direction.

Today I’m grateful God provides for my family in ways I’m not capable.

I’m grateful my little guy was reading a book last night.

I’m grateful my older boy is creeping toward the end of a winning football season and is still humble.

I’m very grateful I had 16 and 18 years with my parents, respectively. Having spent some time fostering, I really appreciate that.

I’m going to think on these things during my work day—which is better than sucking down caffeine and whining.

Because no matter the situation, God is still good and the day still a blessing.

Morning Gratitude #21.1

I thought of something else I’m grateful for, especially considering what happened yesterday in Texas. TRC takes security very seriously. I hate that we have to, but I’m glad we do. Makes me think of a short scene from American Sniper, where the father talks about 3 kinds of people: sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves. 

TRC has sheepdogs, and I mean that in the best possible way. I’m grateful for their presence.

Morning Gratitude #20

It’s Sunday, and it’s pretty early. Didn’t sleep very deeply and I kept waking myself and my wife up snoring. It’s ok, though, because it gave me time to think and time alone with God.

I’m grateful for impromptu conversations about Jesus with the kids.

I’m grateful for the bounty God prepares for me.

I’m grateful he loves my kids more than I ever could on my best day.

I’m grateful for his love for me, even when I’m at my worst, which is more often than I’d care to admit.