‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you’ Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
Yesterday, I was sitting at the bus stop with my friend, making our way home from visiting her sister and niece. It had been raining very heavily, and the wind was incredibly strong, and there I stood under the bus shelter, complaining about being in love and confused. As cold and as wet as it was, my rant persisted – “Why can’t he just admit how he feels?” I was busy shaking my head in frustration, when I noticed an elderly woman walking from afar. I continued to unpick my emotional torment to my friend, who I was sure had had enough, and was just as unsure as I was, of how relationships work. As the elderly woman walked nearer to us, I said “aunty is coming so let me stop”. When she arrived, I felt it would be disrespectful to continue my futile and meaningless conversation.
She looked at my friend and I, her head bowed, with a puzzled look on her face, she began – “I went to see someone who just gave birth and I was rushing, to catch the bus and I fell, I fell so hard on my back, I could have died, no one would have known, that would have been it. I wanted to cry, but then something told me to thank God, so I thank you God, thank you.” She stared down at her muddy palms and dusted off her stained trousers, we tried to reassure her that the mud stains on her trousers were not noticeable, just to soften the distressed expression on her face. My heart truly went out to her, “that’s why it’s not good to rush” she said, and not too long after she’s arrived, her bus came and she was gone.
This experience moved me incredibly, for many reasons. The first was my ability to show more respect to an elderly stranger, than my Father in Heaven who created both her and I. Why did I stop complaining in her presence, when I had relished doing it in the presence of the Almighty? How ungrateful I am at times, not to appreciate all that has been given to me by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, to find a reason to be unsatisfied with God’s works in my life, to moan in all my naivety about something I know little to nothing about. The second was the woman’s response to her great fall, thanking God, where others would have crumbled and been filled with anger, embarrassment and bitterness. There she stood, almost bewildered by the death she had just escaped and in awe of God’s mercy.
I rarely say thank you to God, but when a stranger holds the door for me I say thank you and my heart sincerely smiles, yet I am blessed with another day on earth, I am fortunate enough to have shelter, food to eat, friends who love me and as soon as my imagined bliss is interrupted, by a missed train, forgetting to wear perfume, failing my practical driving test, not getting a job interview – I dive into complaints.
Another reason why I was moved by what had occurred was because of her last utterances – “that’s why it’s not good to rush”, it was like God had put the words in her mouth. I was anxious to love, to be in love, to be loved, to live in lovely romance, and that’s what was frustrating me, not having experienced that unbreakable romance. But as she spoke those words, they held so much power and struck me in my gut, this bible scripture came to mind ‘do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases’.
So for every second, every minute, every hour, every day, week, month, year, of my life that I’ve hissed ungratefully about some stupid thing or another, Lord I ask you for your forgiveness and I say Thank you Father God, merciful, for your love and kindness. Man, we are some insatiable creatures, there is no pleasing us, because we don’t want to be satisfied, because maybe then life would be as simple as God intended it to be and not so complicated by our endless wanting. Yes ask and you shall receive, but don’t become consumed by what you don’t have yet or what you may never have. So much so that you forget all that God has given you, you become ungrateful like the nine of the ten lepers who Jesus healed in God’s name and only one returned to say thank you –
Luke 17:11-19 ‘And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.’
Some out of those nine may have returned to whence they came, filled with bitterness and vengeance:
yes I am healed of my disease but I will hold on to what you said whilst I was still afflicted, I will weep about the way I was treated whilst I was afflicted, I will curse all those who cursed me whilst I was afflicted, I will ponder on my sufferings whilst I was afflicted, because I’m too stupid to see the bigger picture and just thank God.
If we respond to every blessing from God in this way, is it not apparent that the light of God is absent from our hearts? So we should be content like Paul: ‘ I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ Philippians 4:12 (KJV) Grateful for what we have through Christ Jesus. It isn’t a sin to ask God for something you want or need, but to become resentful, to envy others, to be jealous, to become obsessed, that is ungodly. Even in asking make sure you are aware that it is only by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that our prayers are answered, so say please.
Romans 8:28 says; ‘We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan.’ So know that regardless of your hopes and dreams, what you want or even what you need, God knows what is right for you and if you obey him and serve him diligently, he will reward you for your faith as he blessed Abraham, and Isaac and David.
So, Please don’t forget to say your Pleases and Thank Yous to God. Amen in Jesus name.