She mentions a passage I had not considered. King Hezekiah asked God for 15 more years. 1 Kings 20:2-3. God answered his prayer, but that resulted in his son Manasseh and all his mess. Even before that, Israel asked God for earthy kings despite His warnings. He consented in the short run to teach them to rely on Him in the long run.
I am so thankful God hears all prayers, but I pray for wisdom to know what to bring to Him. Looking back, I can sincerely thank Him for some of the unanswered prayers. :) God is good. He can be trusted. In complete faith I can say I would not change my story.
Can we eat the manna daily? Can we be thankful for the mysteries? For the unexplainable? He did not send the Israelites anything within their comfort zone. He brought them something that looked unusual. It was good, but strange. It was sustenance, but it didn't vary. Again, we became discontented. Ingratitude for the manna brought back the snake. We are the Israelites...we have seen the wonders of the Almighty and still we forget. There was no hoarding of manna, but a daily nourishment of God's grace. We still need a steady diet of the Bread of Life and never forget to give thanks for it.
We had our first class this past Wednesday night and a question posed to the group was: Has there been a time in your life that was hard and painful and looked nothing like a gift? When you look back, can you see the gift wrapped in pain? My eyes filled with tears, but I couldn't raise my hand to share. I've found peace with losing my baby, but am I actually grateful for the loss? I am at peace being childless, but can I sincerely call my barrenness a gift from God?.....Maybe.
Is it our world-warped eyes that make blessings look like curses? Maybe losing my baby isn't where my mind needs to be focused. Maybe that's the devil showing me the fruit on the tree that I shouldn't have. Maybe I need to be looking at the garden FULL of blessings that are mine for the taking! The three days I had with my "Little Foot" are a blessing that I still have with me! The memories of those days are beautiful and wonderful and I carry them with me. That blessing is not diminished because of it's duration. Time is of this world, not my world. I am not of this world anymore, so my joy of those three days are not confined to those 72 hours. The blessing I received, I still receive if I'm willing to accept it and not be distracted by the fruit that God has set apart, NOT for me. Whatever that fruit may be. To borrow a concept from the movie "Interstellar", love is not bound by time. God IS love. Therefore, the blessings he gives are also not limited by the dimensions of this world.
Here I raise my Ebenezer and say, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12. Therefore, I have no reason to think that will change because He does not change. This world was not created that I could feel happy all the time with everything I could possibly want...money, success, travel...This world is a training ground. I am given opportunities to practice living as a disciple of Christ every day. Can I be grateful for that opportunity? Do I remember to give thanks Daily for the honor of showing Christ to the world? Even when it really hurts? To paraphrase Ann, the miracle is always preceded by gratitude.
Matthew 15:36 - Christ gives thanks for the insufficient loaves BEFORE they are made sufficient.
John 11:41 - Christ giving THANKS while a friend lies in his grave.
Luke 22:19 - Less than 12 hours before suffering the cross, Jesus giving THANKS for the bread, His very body about to be broken. Literally giving thanks for the toruture he was about to endure because He knew the purpose...how this had been the plan since the garden.
Romans 1:20 - "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been CLEARLY SEEN, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." Through gratitude, my world-warped eyes become clear.
I'm so grateful the Lord's purpose will prevail, in all and through all and today I will do my best to be truly grateful for it ALL...even the strange manna and my insufficient abilities and offerings...and even for friends in the grave. I will give thanks and watch the miracle.