Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Grateful Heart

Thanksgiving is this week. Not that I had to tell anyone of that. *smile* Much has happened since last year when I posted about the Lord's promise to bring me out of the desert that was my life. I still have moments, but this year is evidence that God is faithful to keep His promises.

This morning in my quiet time I read the words (and yes, sang them—in my head because my cat doesn't appreciate my singing and she sits on my lap during my quiet time) to "Now Thank We All Our God."

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mothers' arms
Hath blessed us on ouw way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And bless peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son, and Him who reigns
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore. Amen.

Martin Rinkart (1586–1649)

The history behind the words gave new insight to these words: "Like so many other great hymns, it was forged in the crucible of the Thirty Years' War. Martin Rinkart was the only pastor in the walled city of Eilenberg [Germany]. Many refugees fled there, hoping the walls would protect them, only to see the city overrun by Swedes, Austrians, and Swedes again. In the crowded condition, hunger and plague were chronic problems. In 1637 Rinkart conducted funerals for five thousand residents—including his wife. So when he prays, "Guide us when perplexed," he is not talking about minor inconveniences."

This year for me has been a year of rejoicing in God's abundant blessings, but they haven't come without trials. The Lord gave me the word guidance for this year (maybe into next year) and He's given me all sorts of opportunities to learn to trust Him and His leadership. His ways are strange to me, and I've fought His leading way too many times to say I'm passing these tests with flying colors—I'm not. But through it all I'm learning that His way is perfect.

If I allow myself to dwell on the downside to this year's Thanksgiving holiday, I'd be missing the point of a having a grateful heart. I would have liked to make the trip to Illinois to be with Roger's brothers and sister. I wish my mother could be here; this is the first Thanksgiving where we've stayed in Colorado that Mom won't be here (I avoided this milestone last year by going to Illinois, where Roger's mom was missing in the family circle). This also is the first Thanksgiving since she was born that we won't be spending with Kathy, either here or in Illinois.

But I'm thankful for God's provision and comfort. Both our moms are in heaven with the Lord. Kathy is where I believe God has placed her at this time. As Roger, Randy, and I are. I'm extremely grateful for my family, including all the extended family on both sides. I'm thankful for the salvation God provided for me through Jesus Christ. And I'm thankful for the opportunities He gives me each day to praise Him and thank Him. Those are the things I can hang onto for eternity.

God is good.

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