Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Part of the Foreward to Choosing Gratitude (Joni Eareckson Tada)

I never win anything in giveaways but a few weeks ago I entered one at a friend's blog, The Grace Post. I won Nancy Leigh DeMoss's new book, Choosing Gratitude. I thought the forward was fenomenal and decided to share the beginning part of it on my blog. I hope you can take a few minutes and read it. If you are interested in purchasing the book, Amazon has it for around $12 here.
"So many people do things for me or to me--as a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, someone has to help me out of bed, pour the coffee, get me dressed, brush my hair, brush my teeth, blow my nose...and I'm always quick to say, "Thank you." And I mean it.
What's more, I say it a lot. I remember when Judy, my executive assistant, came into my office and asked if she could borrow $10. I was busy, so I absentmindedly told her to take the bill out of my wallet, which she did. When I heard my purse snap shut, I automatically said in a cheery voice, "Thank you!" Immediately, a friend standing nearby said,"what did you thank her for? She's the one who ought to thank you." I guess I'm just programmed to express gratitude to people.
Oh, if it were only that way with the Lord Jesus. If only we were better "programmed" to be grateful--not only to people--but to Him, lifting appreciative prayers countless times during the day. Sadly, lack of gratitude--and often ingratitude--resides in our hearts. That's scary. Lack of a thankful spirit carries serious penalties--a quick read of Romans chapter 1 tells us that. And if a thankless spirit was the undoing of a generation eons ago, is it any different for us? In fact, you and I know God far better than those to whom He revealed Himself through mere creation--we have even more to be thankful for!
And so I've been giving thanks for most of my paralyzed life. Not only giving thanks "in everything," as one part of the Bible tells us, but "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything" as another part commands ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV). Most of us are able to thank God for His grace, comfort, and sustaining power in a trial, but we don't thank Him for the problem, just finding Him in it.
But many decades in a wheelchair have taught me to not segregate my Savior from the suffering He allows, as though a broken neck--or in your case, a broken ankle, heart, or home--merely "happens" and then God shows up after the fact to wrestle something good out of it. No, the God of the Bible is bigger than that. Much bigger.
And so is the capacity of your soul. Maybe this wheelchair felt like a horrible tragedy in the beginning, but I give God thanks in my wheelchair...I'm grateful for my quadriplegia. It's a bruising of a blessing. A gift wrapped in black. It's the shadowy companion that walks with me daily, pulling and pushing me into the arms of my Savior. And that's where the joy is." Joni Eareckson Tada

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