"We give thanks to God not because of how WE FEEL but because of who HE IS."
The last week or so has brought with it the infamous Cape Town winter. We have heard many speak of it...the wind and the rain in addition to cooler temperatures. This past weekend it did not fail to disappoint. It was quite a beast of a storm...three days of rain and the first day filled with several hail storms.
For the most part the winters here are mild compared to our winters in the States. It does not snow or get close to freezing. The main difference is the lack of indoor heating. We are mastering the art of layering, using the indoor fireplace and hot water bottles.
Yet I still complained and whined. And I did all weekend. I was not happy about any of it.
The last few days though the Lord has been bringing the same theme to my mind through my daily bible ready, random Christian programming on TV and through life itself...the theme....
THANKFULNESS or really thankLESSness.
"Our fall (sinfulness) is always first a failure to give thanks." (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)
We have a team here this week serving with us and we were able to go with our home based carers into a settlement, Capricorn, to distribute blankets to patients in need. As we drive through it is ridden with trash, malnurshished dogs litter the streets, the smell of waste permiates the air and yet, this is peoples home. Cape Town has major issues its facing in the housing situation. People were forced to these settlements promised housing would be provided and the government has not lived up to its bargain. People, created in Gods image, are living in unsanitary conditions. Their houses are cold and wet. Because of all the rain, well just ANY rain for that matter, rain comes in their homes. They really need the sunny days to dry out their belongings.
It was a moment where I stood in this home and felt ashamed and humbled. I have been given so much....when it rains I worry about how loud the rain will sound against the tin roof but I know the roof is solid and I do not worry about leaks. We have plenty of clothes and layers to keep us warm. I just realized all the things I needed to be thanking God FOR instead of complaining that I did not have. It is a daily dying to myself and MY needs and choose to find the blessings in my days.
Perspective changes EVERYTHING.
I love this prayer Ann Voskamp offers in one of her devotions and I pray you will consider it today.."Forgive me for being a forgetter of thanks. This is no trivial thing. It leads to wicked things. Hear the cry of my heart: Forgive me for not giving You thanks. If thanks is the highest form of thought- make it my first thought. Turn me towards thanks first - so my life doesn't turn into the last thing I'd hoped for."