Remember when you were a kid, and your parents taught you to say "please" and "thank you"?
I saw a great TV commercial during Thanksgiving break that showed a soldier home from war, who was so courteous saying "yes ma'am" and "please" and "thank you" to everyone on his flight home. The pilot turns to him at the end and says, "no, thank you!"
There is something about a person who is grateful and kind and courteous that changes how you act in response to them. This is the kind of people God is calling us to be.
Yet, it can be easy to lose patience in the busyness and hurry of life. Especially during the holiday season.
Sometimes it is easy for me to lose patience with God as well. I start to feel frustrated with his timing and lack of response to needs in our lives or ministry work. My prayer begins to sound more like a grumble of "hurry up and help."
But something is shifting in my heart since our trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion. I am seeing with different eyes. You see, while I'm praying to God and asking for major financial donors, and his intervention and grace in multiple areas of need in our ministry, my sponsor child is praying for her next meal. With that in the back of mind, I literally have no right to complain or grumble. In fact, knowing that, all I should do is say "thank you, thank you, thank you!" all day long. We must never remove our challenges from the context of God's grace on our lives.
Even watching the movie Lincoln, and considering where our nation has come in the past centuries. There was a time when we were at Civil War and killing hundreds of thousands of our neighbors, and holding people in slavery because of the color of their skin. It is shocking to remember, and to realize how much grace we are living in now.
There is a very interesting study called "If the world were a village of 100 people," that shows the breakdown of what the world would look like at this microscopic size. One of the statements is that 1 out of the 100 people in the village would have a college education. Do we realize how blessed we are?!
This brings up an important principle in our pursuit of all God has for our lives: Don't look at what you don't have. Look at what you have.
Here is another way to approach our challenges in life: 1 Peter 5:7 tell us to "Cast all your care on him; for he cares for you." Their are several points here:
-You will have cares, worries and anxieties in this life.
-God tells us to "cast" or "throw" these onto Him as they come up in our hearts.
-And finally, God cares for us. Even when we think He is being slow to respond, or slow to speak, we can trust and know that He really does care.
-God is calling us to cast our cares on Him, and through consistent faith and prayer, see change in our circumstances. We can trust all the while that He cares for us more than anyone else would.