28th November 2016

Be Thankful 

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

Have you ever experienced a series of circumstances where nothing seemed to go right? This happened to me recently: The brakes on my car started to make that horrible grinding noise that immediately told me the pads and discs needed to be replaced. A pipe in the bathroom sprung a leak that resulted in the shower and bath being dismantled, the floor tiles had to be taken up and the bathroom was out of normal operation for over a month while the floor dried out. Then my phone line went dead, no land-line or internet connection for over a week. It’s not easy to be thankful when a spate of negative things comes along is it?

This past week I was reading about the American author Helen Keller who, having overcome considerable physical handicaps, served as an inspiration for other afflicted people. Helen was born a healthy child, but at 19 months old she contracted an illness described by doctors as ‘an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain,’ which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her both deaf and blind.

No way could be found to educate her until her seventh year, when she began her special education in reading and writing. She quickly learned to read by the Braille system and to write by means of a specially constructed typewriter. In 1890, she learned to speak after only one month of study. Ten years later, she was able to enter Radcliffe College, from which she graduated with honours in 1904 becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

After World War II, she visited wounded veterans in United States hospitals and lectured in Europe on behalf of the physically handicapped. One of her statements made quite an impact on me: “I thank God for my handicaps; for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”

We will all undergo difficult times in our lives, yet when I read of the obstacles Helen Keller faced it made my series of circumstances seem trivial by comparison. It brings things into perspective. We often thank God when everything goes well, but can easily forget when things go badly or we have days somewhere in-between. I am indeed humbled by Helen’s story; her achievements in the face of adversity show me that we should be thankful to God whether we feel like it or not, whatever our circumstances. As the Psalmist wrote, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1-2 NLT).

My prayer is that as I am thankful to God for my experiences, I too might find myself, my work, and my God. 

Prayer
Father, please give me a heart to thank you in all of life’s circumstances, for this is your good and perfect will for me.
Amen

Study by Barry Robinson

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barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God London
Indian YMCA
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON W1T 6AQ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Martin Ryan
Phone: 07958 386944
Email:   martin_ryan@wcg.org.uk

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