Updated: Jan 1, 2020
The Kingdom Journey
I’m a pretty good person. I'm not a bad person. I don't need to be saved. I don’t need to be converted. I'm pretty happy the way things are. Its just this one obstacle. When I get past it, then it will be clear sailing. So why do I need to change?
One way is with white knuckles and gritted teeth, yes. But another way is gratitude.
Gratitude? Are you crazy?
I spoke on the phone recently with an old friend and recalled an incident about seven years ago. Nothing big but a time we clasped hands to dash across a busy road. I doubted he would remember. “That that was the last time I ran,” I told my friend. And funny enough he remembered.
With each chunk of disease progression, I am forced to surrender my old life anew. And in knee-jerk response I re-triple my efforts to hang on. And ironically, when I take that road I suffer more, the very thing I am trying to avoid.
The gospel reading at church today was about ten lepers who were healed and told to go to the priests. Only one return to Jesus to give thanks. The other nine continued on their way, probably over joyed at being able to reclaim their old lives. They probably thought they didn’t need further healing. “Thanks, but we got this now.’
The Samaritan however, the least expected one, who didn’t know all the right rules and regulations went back to give thanks to Jesus. He was willing to go against the grain of the others because he had to give thanks no matter what. He was so grateful.
I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh the Lord says.
My head knows gratitude opens the way to true transformation. But my heart is a little slow. Gratitude is the door greeter to a whole new existence. It can turn barely enough into plenty; black into grey; and stalemates into joyful actions.
I know that but can I be grateful for having MS?
Gratitude for tragedy is impossible without help from above. Transformation is a sky dive into the unknown where attitudes, opinions, and beliefs challenge your very existence. They are not easy to swallow, never mind embrace. But don't worry there is help from above.
When I finally came to have no finger nails left and was open enough to allow God to re-create me, I sampled his His peace, His grace. When I let go, I was pushed into a deeper relationship with Him and began to trust.
Without me at the helm, it left me room to discover who I truly am. It meant I could develop a more meaningful relationship with God, with myself and consequently with others. I wasn’t finished like I thought. I didn’t have to grind through. But it did mean I had to change. I had to embrace a new course, a new compass, a new way of life.
So am I grateful for having MS? I am grateful for all its teaching me. I am grateful that I have a heart of flesh because of it. I am grateful I have a new spirit that wants to know God more and be open to His unending graces.
Gratitude is by far the best choice. It has smoothed the rough edges. Yes its been difficult not being able to dash anywhere let alone across the road, but its beats the heart of stone - the blame, anger and negativity that used to get me around.
So if you're asking the heavens to change your circumstances maybe it's time to allow the circumstances to change you. And see what God can do with it.
A very blessed Thanksgiving to everyone.