Friday, June 3, 2011

Giving The Hard Thanks

Yesterday I had the privilege of watching a friend’s kids while she had a CT scan done. She is a young mother with three cutie pies at home and out of the blue last week she was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She starts chemo today.

The more I read God’s word and the closer I get to Him, the more I find myself challenged to give thanks in every situation. But I struggle to give the hard thanks. What do I thank God for when my friend is diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in her lungs?

What about all the death and destruction brought on from the recent tornadoes in our country- what kind of thanks do we give then?

I’m still struggling with understanding how and if I am supposed to thank him for taking my son.

What does it really mean to give the hard thanks?

What exactly am I supposed to be thankful for with J? Of course I’m thankful for modern medicine. And the support of friends and family. That we had J at all. And that my son is in heaven. But I keep getting this nagging in my heart that there is more than this. That I am not giving the real hard thanks. I’ve praised God for taking my Jameson for his sake, so he will not suffer anymore; but how do I find a way to thank him for my sake? For Little Man’s sake? Where is the blessing in this for us? I’m still working on it.

It doesn’t sound right, does it? But it is true. When God turns something around and uses it for His glory, it can bless everyone, even those in pain. Sometimes I can see it. I’ve found I can give the hard thanks for losing the baby in March. I cannot accurately explain the peace and joy I feel in knowing Jameson has a sibling with him in heaven. I am able to look past my pain and see the blessing, even for me, and thank my Lord.

I’m a work in progress- far from perfect, far from even good. Sometimes I don’t even know if I want to give the hard thanks. I carry feelings of entitlement that God’s graces cover, but are not justified. I’m just now beginning to understand what C.S. Lewis meant when he said “The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.” There will be pain and suffering on this earth, yet doesn't Jesus' love and sacrifice provide grace even there?

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