Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In everything give thanks. Really?

New friends
I have struggled with knowing what to blog about while we're on furlough.  Life just keeps moving along in the normal routine-ness of daily living.  Our ministry obligations have changed, obviously, so there's not much to report about our work in Brazil.  Christen, my sister-in-law, does a great job of
updating their blog about the church in Brazil, so if you're interested in that, check out her blog at www.taylors4brazil.blogspot.com

At the Smithsonian
We had a great family trip a couple of weeks ago where we spent a few days in Washington, D.C. riding the metro and seeing some sights, and then we went on to Delaware where we got to spend some really special days with some friends who support our ministry, as well as present our work in a supporting church nearby. 
Fun at a party

Fun in the pool
God really blessed us on our trip.  The kids behaved really well overall, we had very encouraging spiritual conversations with our friends and played some killer rounds of Farkle with them, we got to do a lot of fun stuff, the church we were in was very gracious to us, and all these gifts from God we accepted with eager, almost greedy, outstretched hands. 

We returned home around 2 in the morning, tired but happy and spiritually refreshed.  But then as we drove down our gravel road, David stopped and pointed out that our front door was standing open and there were lights on in the house.  We immediately called the police and they came and examined the house before we went in to see what damage had been done.  Thankfully, it was not as bad as it could have been, but the thief did manage to find the cash that we had set aside towards the purchase of a car and a few days later, David noticed that the external hard drive was gone too.

It was a frustrating way to end our little trip, and suddenly, it was very easy to forget all the blessings that we had received so eagerly during the past week.  We have been robbed several times throughout the years.  I've had things ranging from an old towel to a car stolen from me.  And everytime, there is that feeling of indignation that rises up inside of me -- "How DARE they!!"  There is that feeling of being violated, the creepy feeling of someone having been in my house, opening drawers, picking through our stuff, selecting what they want from our possessions as if it's their right to take from us what we worked hard to earn and save.  It can be infuriating if I dwell on those thoughts for too long. 
But amazingly, we were both pretty calm about it this time.  We have been growing in our trust in God's sovereignty and this was a perfect chance to test what we claim to believe.  Like Job said (in my words), are we only willing to accept all the good things God has to offer and not the bad things He brings our way?  (Job 2:10) What?  Does God bring bad things into our lives on purpose?  How is that kind and loving and merciful?  How does that match up with His righteous character?  And another question is, should I thank God for all the blessings I receive, but not thank Him for what I see as ... un-blessings?  Does Scripture ever make an exception for what I should thank God for?  I Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God ..."  I don't see an exception clause in there.  "In everything, (except those things which you don't like or appreciate) give thanks."  This is a truth I have been slowly learning recently as well as I work through a book on that very subject.  Amazing, isn't it, how God teaches us a truth theoretically through His Word and through teachers who have grasped that truth, and then takes us on a field trip to give us a chance for hands-on learning, to put into practice that which we claim to believe so firmly. 

So I'm blessed that I serve a God who is good and righteous, who ordains all the details of my life, and who expects my gratitude for the good and bad.  Because in the end, I think I will look back and think, "what bad?" because it will all have been worth it.