Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Give Thanks in All Circumstances"

At the present time, it's looking like Olivia and I might be stuck states apart for another year, she in Chicago and I in Richmond. I have a June 30 deadline to be released from my contract with Henrico County. But last week, when our frustrations and anxieties were about to get the better of us, I noticed a Bible passage I had written on my kitchen whiteboard: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I had to pause and think: Why do I possibly have to be joyful and give thanks about in our circumstances? And why is it that just now did I pay attention to what I've had written on my whiteboard for months? You think you're pretty funny, eh, God? Though I don't think it's necessary to share a ton about us, I think posting a few things that came to mind while praying with Olivia later that night would be worth passing on. Perhaps this will help you, too, to be thankful and joyful in whatever is happening in your own life.

(1) It's a near miracle that Olivia and I ever met in the first place, let alone grew in a relationship for this long while separated by such a gulf. Everyone else says that long-distance relationships are certainly improbable and unlikely to succeed, if not impossible.

(2) Back in the winter we were going through some times of deep uncertainly (chiefly on my end), over which I nearly called it all off. But spring break was a renewing blast, and we've only grown since then.

(3) We've managed to grow in patience and willingness to understand one another's needs and concerns.

(4) We're learning our role as God's created servants--the life we were made for. As we are broken of our ability to control every aspect of our lives and relationship according to our own timetables, God is teaching us that it is he who is in control. As our Lord, we cannot even begin to call into question his wisdom and decisions for us. His thoughts and ways far surpass ours and beyond suspicion; our role is simply to accept it all with gratitude and awe. (This is essentially the message of the whole book of Job, especially chapters 38-41.)

(5) Duh! I have a great, attractive girl with an infectious laugh, a bright smile, beautiful eyes, and lush blonde hair. She loves baseball and the outdoors, wants to do missions, loves the Lord, treasures the Word, and speaks to me God's truth where it's needed. She's patient with me, takes an interst in my activities and pursuits, and even finds me attractive (short height and decreasing musculature included).

What do you have to be thankful for today?

(6) . . . And could I forget? In typical "God fashion," as he waits until the last moment to stretch our faith and force us to prayer, two schools contacted me today about interviewing for science teaching openings! Thanks to any and all who have prayed for this.


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

You're welcome

Ted M. Gossard said...

Great thoughts. You are truly blessed!

And good news, as well. Will continue to pray.