Give thanks for the troubles in your life. Through them, you can see God’s healing and his saving love.
Joel C. Seifert
Can I make a confession? There’s a little part of me that smiles when my children cry.
I never felt that way until we adopted our son. At his first doctor’s appointment, the nurse tried to draw blood. She missed the vein and tried again. Many more pricks followed. Throughout the process, our nine-month-old son didn’t shed a tear. In his orphanage, he’d already learned that there was no point in crying out. No one would answer.
EVERY HURT PROVIDES A CHANCE FOR HEALING
Adoption literature talks a lot about connectedness. The connections that truly bind parent to child don’t appear in a flash the moment they first lock eyes. They’re more like well-worn wheel ruts, dug deep as you travel the same path again and again. A hurt is felt, a cry is made, a loving response is given. The connection forms.
I think about that now every time I read Luke’s account of the ten lepers. Ten men suffering from leprosy cry out to Jesus. He hears them and sends them to the priests. On their way, they’re healed. One comes back, giving thanks to God (Luke 17:11-19).
What do you think he was so thankful for? I’m sure he was filled with thanksgiving that his leprosy was gone. Did he understand everything about why Jesus came? I don’t know. But he understood that no matter how much he had hurt, no matter how alone he’d felt, God heard him. God’s own Son healed him and loved him.
It always makes me wonder if he thanked God for his leprosy. Without it, he never would have known how much God loved him. Without it, he never would have found his Savior from sin. A hurt, a cry, a response. And he knew he was loved.
THANKFULNESS IN ALL THINGS
God doesn’t smile because his children cry. But he does rejoice to help us. He wants us to know that he hears us and loves us. Every act of “healing” is there to point us to his love in sending his Son to forgive our sins.
It’s wonderful to give thanks for our houses, our jobs, our newborn babies, and our faithful friends. But maybe we have still more reasons to give thanks:
• The lean times when we didn’t think we’d make it, but God gave daily bread.
• The challenges in our marriages. They drove us to God’s Word, and God gave healing we never could have imagined.
• Our sicknesses which opened our eyes to God’s great compassion.
• The crushing guilt of our sins which drives us to know what the forgiveness of Jesus really feels like.
• The lingering pain or hurt that turns us to Jesus and his promises that he is with us every day.
A hurt, a cry, a response. We know we’re loved.
After a few more jabs with the needle, my son finally started to cry. Many more tears will come over the years! I don’t really smile at his pain, but I give thanks for a chance to show him my love is real. The well-worn wheel ruts keep getting deeper. When our Father in heaven does the same, we have every reason to give thanks. “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
Joel Seifert is pastor at Shining Mountains, Bozeman, Montana.
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Author: Joel C. Seifert
Volume 102, Number 11
Issue: November 2015
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