After an exciting evening during which he found himself robbed by thugs, Matthew Henry wrote in his journal:
- Let me be thankful-
First, because I was never robbed before.
Second, because although they took my wallet, they did not take my life.
Third, because although they took my all, it was not much.
And fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.
Perspective. We are rarely granted the “Aha!” experience that Joseph had, where, in hindsight, he was able to say, “You meant it for evil; but God meant it for good,” understanding almost the full scope of that “good.” Often, we are “comforted” by friends who sincerely offer a Romans 8:28 consolation, although it may be received as triteness on our end. The bigness of that verse is enhanced immeasurably by its context. Read from about verse 26, down to verse 31. We have the comfort and consolation of the indwelling Spirit of God, we have the incomprehensible goal of becoming more like God’s dear Son, we have the perfect design of God’s plan, and His sure deliverance to add our shopping cart of inestimable riches. The journal entry above was made because its author had these things in view.
This is the upward look. Job had it (I’ve been studying here quite a bit…perhaps more from that later), though he did not have all the answers, either:
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Job 13:15
We read in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians that we are to be giving thanks in all things. I have heard some preaching on the “in” (versus “for”)–have you? Similar to the “with the temptation” clause in 1 Cor 10:13. God may not take His ethereal tweezers and pluck you out of that locale, relationship or state of being. Paul gives a tip regarding how the “in” can be achieved:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses [that about covers it, doesn’t it?~dch] for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Cor 12:9, 10
Grace. “Unmerited favor,” if you give the “Bible Doctrines 101” answer. In other words, it is help we don’t deserve. This is what helps us wade through the inequities of life with sweetness and gratitude.
We need it. He knows it. He gives it. We take it.