I was on a plane on my way back to Dallas when I asked God, “What should I write about for our next entry in the ‘I am Grateful’ series?” As I prayed for direction, I felt like He said, “Why don’t you tell people about all the bad things you are grateful for?”
That’s an interesting twist.
There have been a lot of really bad things that have happened over the years, but on this side of restoration, I know those difficult trials made me a better person, resulted in good, and in many ways, I am grateful for the bad.
So I accepted the challenge and came up with a gratitude list for what could be deemed as “bad.” Maybe you can draft your own? What life trials are you grateful for? Here are mine:
I am grateful for the death of my doctor father before I was born, because if he’d lived, I might not have sought my heavenly Father.
I am grateful for my beautiful broken mother, who never recovered emotionally from my father’s death, because without her I would not have compassion for other women’s brokenness.
I am grateful for the stretches of poverty growing up and the many nights of peanut butter and syrup sandwiches. It’s because of those days I am appreciative of any provision I receive.
I am grateful that as a youth growing up in a mega-wealthy environment, I was left out of some activities because of my lower social standing. Due to that, I promised to never treat anyone differently, and give respect to all people, regardless of social status.
I am grateful for the rejections over the years, in particular the rejection of my half-sister, who was whisked off to live with her mother out-of-state after our father died. Because if that hadn’t happened I might not see close friends as sisters.
I am grateful for my simultaneous devastating job losses as a television sportscaster. It is what catapulted me back into my heavenly Father’s arms.
I am grateful for the broken hearts I experienced, because they make me appreciate my husband even more for choosing to spend a lifetime with this girl who entered the marriage with a truckload of baggage.
I am grateful for all the close calls, and there were a lot of them: Getting hit by a car, flipping over a bicycle handlebars onto my head, crash landing in a helicopter, contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome, being hit in the head with a golf ball, and other health scares. Because of them, I appreciate healing and the gift of life that God provides.
Here’s one that is a double-edged sword: While I am still a sinner, I am grateful and repentant at the same time for my extreme sinfulness in my late teens and twenties. Because of those failings, I understand and greatly appreciate God’s grace.
Lastly, I am grateful for Jesus’ death on the cross. It is because of His sacrifice that I have hope and a relationship with my heavenly Father. I am not sure I’d be alive today without the gift of grace.
What I’ve found is that no one is exempt from the bad. The Bible tells us up front in John 16:33 that “in this world you will have trouble.” How we react to the low points in life is up to us.
Do we see them as molding us to be who God created us to be?
Do they point us to God’s grace in our lives?
Do we view rejection as a means of moving us in a different direction?
In the case of the close calls, does it make us appreciative of the fragility of life and God’s mercy?
Today, won’t you ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the other side of what has happened to you? Who would you be if those things hadn’t occurred? I know who I’d probably be, because I am aware of my sinful nature—a bratty, spoiled rich kid who did not appreciate anything or anyone. That is the sad truth.
Thank you Lord that you loved me enough to allow me to be broken.
Thank you Lord for the pain, both physical and emotional.
Thank you Lord for the gift of failure and rejection.
Thank you for continuing to mold me to be more like your Son. I just have one request: Will you give me the strength to bear it in the future?
Categories: Devotion of the Week