I have always been polite. I learned the importance of manners from a young age. But, honestly (sorry mom and dad), I was just memorizing a set of rules. “Remember to say thank you when your friend’s mom drops you off”, “Don’t forget to say please and thank you at your grandparent’s house”, and “Did you finish your thank you notes, yet?” I was acting polite but not actually feeling thankful.
But, recently a heart change has begun.
It began when a friend at church gave me this challenge, “Just say the words, ‘Thank you’, right in the face of the challenge.”
“Oh, okay, yeah, I can do that. My daughter and I have talked about how we can say thank you for every trial because it leads us closer to God.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” my friend replied, “but there’s more. You know everything, EVERYTHING,” she repeated a little firmer, ” comes to us through the Father. So, everything, EVERYTHING is allowed in our life by God. It’s been filtered through God. So, I can say thank you for everything, EVERYTHING.”
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Mathew 26:50 says, Jesus replied, “friend do what you came for”. He was referring to his betrayer, Judas, as friend. Jesus being God knew what was coming. He knew that he was about to be severely abused, spit upon, slapped, and ultimately killed. Yet, he knew everything that happened to him, everything he experienced, everything he encountered was Father Filtered. The Father agreed and allowed this. The Father allowed Judas to betray Jesus. So he could welcome his betrayer as friend. Jesus trusted his Father’s plan.
This kind of understanding goes so far beyond just a set of memorized words to express thanks. To actually refer to your betrayer as friend, to welcome pain, to walk into the fire, this takes an understanding of the Father.
You see when I told my friend’s mom thank you for the ride, I was just glad I had a way home. I didn’t stop and think about the heart of the woman who drove me home. The sacrifice and care she took in arranging to drive me home.
But, to be thankful for the pain of my parent’s divorce, the disease that has wreaked havoc on my body, the challenges my daughters face, my husband’s health trials? That takes having an understanding of the Father.
To be thankful for the pain requires getting to know the Father’s heart. It requires surrender. You must trust. And, you must remember what He has done for you in the past.
So I can say thank you. I can say thank you for the trials. Thank you for the disagreements. Thank you for the testing.
Thank you Father. What is in my life right now was filtered through you, My Father. Thank you.
yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 1 Corinthians 8:6