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“In Everything”

December 2nd, 2013 Categories: pondering... 1 comment

When I was living with my roommate a few years ago, we used to remind each another often of this verse:

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

This verse tells us to be thankful to the Lord, not just for the good things, but for everything. So when we were living together, and something would happen, one of us would say, “Thank You Lord…” and the other would be reminded and reply, “…for everything.”

I’ve been feeling really thankful to the Lord recently. It’s not like something particular has happened, I’m just generally thankful. Maybe it is because I read this Bibles for America article about Thanksgiving. It just seemed to sink in a bit more for me this year, that it’s not just about the yummy food (I’ve tried it, it is delicious). But it really is about giving thanks to God.

It is wonderful to have this time of year to be reminded to thank the Lord. But it is even more wonderful to realise that this does not have to be limited to once a year, or even to once a week. Our thankfulness can be daily, even moment by moment. Oh thank You Lord. Lord, thank You.

But what do I thank God for?

I love this verse in the Bible:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 is awesome. And I still remember exactly where I was, back in 2005, when I read the footnote from the Recovery Version and some brothers and sisters explained it and really opened this verse up to me. it blew me away. The footnote made this verse even more awesome to me.

Did you ever wonder what the “all things” in this verse are? Here’s the footnote:

Including all persons, all matters, and all things.

Wow. All persons, all matters, and all things. That’s basically everything, right? They all work together for good.

And why? Because of the next verse:

Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers.

So all things work together for good, but the “good” is not the outward persons, matters or things. We might have thought that this verse means that if we love God, we will be successful and profitable in the things we do. But this verse is not about something outward or material. It’s even better than that.

Romans 8:29 shows us that the “good” is that God can use all our environments and circumstances, all persons, all matters and all things, to work together to conform us to the image of His Son, and this is our destiny.

Don’t you want to be conformed to the image of Christ? I know I do. And as soon as possible! This makes these persons, matters and things, these “all things”, so precious to us.

Sometimes it is easy to be thankful

The early part of my summer was awesome. Three weddings in three countries: the UK, Canada and USA, and there was at least one more I couldn’t make. I had the joy of witnessing the weddings of two sisters who are dear to me, and of course that of my own very dear sister.

During that time I did a lot of traveling, and it was a tremendously sweet summer of visiting saints that I knew just a little, hadn’t seen in along time, or hadn’t met before, and getting blent with them. Not to mention the students blending trip and the summer training. All very enjoyable, and thoroughly cherishing. It is easy to be thankful to the Lord at times like this.

But sometimes it doesn’t seem so easy

Then, as you’re probably aware from my previous post, my grandma passed away.

Over the past few months, some people have asked, “Were you close to your grandma?” She lived in a different country and unlike some of my cousins, I wasn’t the type to call and speak to her every week. When I did speak to her, our conversations were short, as I couldn’t understand her patwa. I mostly just told her that I loved her, and she would tell me that she loved me too. There was no need to be more complicated than that.

I’m still quite deeply affected by her passing away. I go through periods of being very sad, and even very emotional. Sometimes, there is this “religious” voice in me that says, why am I still so sad? Aren’t I a Christian, and shouldn’t I be at peace knowing that my grandma is now with the Lord? But I know that’s just a silly thought and that it’s ok to grieve. I honestly can say that I am peaceful. I do know my grandma is with the Lord. But I am still sad, I still miss her.

I am just reflecting on this again, having attended a dear brother’s funeral and memorial this weekend. So many saints came. And we were so sad. We will miss him very much. But at the funeral, we were encouraged to have strong spirits, and to remember the resurrection life. This life conquers death.

At the memorial, we were also encouraged by all the testimonies from the family, friends and saints, to see what a pattern our brother lived. He had such a normal living that was full of Christ, both in spiritual things and in practical things. His life, and his death, were to the Lord. Thank You Lord, for giving us such a brother.

For whether we live, we live to the Lord, and whether we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore whether we live or we die, we are the Lord’s.

Thank You Lord

I realise I have a lot to be thankful for. In fact I have everything to be thankful for. Thank You Lord, for everything. Thank You Lord, for such patterns and pillars in the church. Thank You Lord, for such loving grandmas who pray for us every day.

Somehow, it’s possible to be both sad and thankful. Thank You Lord, that I could still be thankful.

  1. mavis lee
    December 2nd, 2013 at 23:04 | #1

    death cannot hold the resurrection life. hallelujah.
    yes, we miss mama & bro ben. both overcomers in their measured ways. we love them dearly. this is just a temporary goodbye. we’re journeying towards where they have gone – the new jerusalem! prepare us for Your coming olj. amen.

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