“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way.”
1 Corinthians 1:4 NIV
It may be easy to give thanks when someone does a kind deed, or an act in your favour. It can be almost natural to be grateful when you are in a season of blessing and abundance. But, what about when someone else in your life is walking through a time of answered prayer, while you feel like the heavens are brass to you ? Can you be grateful then?
A number of years ago, I had received numerous prophetic words over my life. Some that spoke to the very deep longings in my heart. Words, that touched the core of who I was both, as a woman and as a daughter of God. Yet, almost as soon as they were spoken, I began to watch them come to pass in the life of a good friend of mine. Not only did they come to pass in her life, but God put me right in the middle of these words being fulfilled in her. It was painful to say the least. As I labored to be excited and happy for her, I also grieved and wondered what I might be doing wrong in order that someone else was experiencing what was suppose to be promises for me. I wrested greatly in that season to be grateful. It was a time of a mixed internal war, but today I can honestly say, I am grateful for the season. Although I am almost 15 years removed from it, I have still never seen the fulfillment of those promises in my life and you know what? It’s ok. I know this, my loving Father holds my every moment, and He knew then what I can see in part today. The fulfillment of those words in my life at that time would have made me depend more on man and less on God. But I also am reminded that my life is not finished. Whether I ever see those words fulfilled or not is irrelevant to me at this moment. What matters is that I can learn to experience God in the seasons of what I feel are loss. And that I realize my life goes beyond my years on this physical earth.
Looking back, the thing that challenges my heart is this; Can I be grateful to God when someone else is living in the perceived blessing while I am living in perceived lack? Can I celebrate with them? For them? Can I be grateful to God for His abundance in someone else? I believe this is a true test to gratitude like no other. When I can sing and celebrate for another in my moment of deep disappointment then, I have learned to love beyond my selfishness and to believe in a God who does not miss a detail.
How can I say this now? A few years ago, I took a course in Israel and I was privileged to see something. God is fulfilling a 6000 year old promise to His people in my generation. He never fails to perform His Word. I can be sure that, whether I ever see the things I hope for in this life with my natural eyes, God will do them, without fail.
Today I am grateful for the moments of disappointment. They revealed to me where my trust was fixed. I am grateful for the promises fulfilled in my friend’s life. Today, I can look at both her struggles and her victories and know that even the promise does not come without sacrifice and cost. It was her time. I am grateful to have been able to be a part of that time, it deposited something rich in my heart that is still being produced all these years later. I am thankful to a God who does not always give us what we want, even when they are deep longings, because He sees what we cannot. I am so grateful I can trust Him with the things that I do not understand in the moment and know that He does all things well. This I know today, every promise from God in my life will be fulfilled.
Jim Holmes says:February 11, 2015 at 12:04 am
Isn’t it “so wonderful” to hear someone else be so excited about your good fortune! So thankful for you to be greatly enriched in every way, beyond your dreams! And more than that, your “name” is brought before the King of kings! And again, much more than that, God Himself gave you grace in Christ Jesus, outside of which we are as nothing. And grace we need, because we remember how lost we were without Christ…once wretched, blind, with an eternity of horror before us, having no hope. We all have sinned, and the death penalty was upon us all. It is from this personal horrible state I was in, that mercy came and rewrote my life. It rewrote it with the grace of God, working in me, yearning, praying and thanking God for you. We are members of His Body…your weakness is mine, your strength is mine…and the entire Body hurts when you hurt and rejoices at your rejoicing…in Christ. Let us rejoice.
Now, you are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Now you can approach the throne of grace. Now you are His child, and belong to the Family of God. Now, you have many brothers and sisters in Christ. Now, you walk in the New City of Jerusalem. Remember God’s love for you. Jesus died for you. Jesus suffered for you. Jesus came full of grace and mercy for you. Jesus loves you. And I heard a friend, Kathryn, tell me this story…that there was a person touched by God, and oh, the power of God that was present upon that life, and then, there was this other person who longed to be touched, but sensed only God’s Presence as He passed by, and then there was this one who knew that God was near, but didn’t feel anything, yet continued to trust in God. More blessed was the one that walked by faith, and not by sight. I have not forgotten that. So, sometimes in Christian circles I may not sense God, but I joy in seeing Him at work…I just look for His love, His smile, His touching others, His expression in their faces. I can’t help but smile back, and love reigns! For many a time, it is in you that I see the glory of my King.
Pat McRae says:February 11, 2015 at 9:24 am
As I started to ponder this verse today I read it like one we just thought through recently. I read ” I give thanks to my God “FOR” you. But in my KJV that is not what Paul said. He said “I thank my God always “ON YOUR BEHALF”. Why on their behalf? Were the Corinthian believers unable to thank God? Did they not know all that had been done for them, so they were unable to be thankful? Could it be that these were the prayers that held these believers strong enough to remain faithful to their call?
I have been reminded lately that these early churches did not have the blessing of the written Word as we do. They coUld not read about the heroes of faith to build their faith; they had no verse to stand on for their victory. Their revelation was limited to what was being taught about this Jesus and what others had to say about faith. They were steeped in religious traditions and now someone was saying those ways were obsolete, would not provide an eternal salvation nor even forgiveness of sins. They were being informed there was only one way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and that was by believing and confessing Jesus Christ of Nazareth as Saviour and Lord of their lives.
Paul had much to teach them about how to live a life worthy of their wonderful calling. But first he lets them know he is praying for them, he is thankful for them, he sees the grace of God at work in their lives. I find this so encouraging, must be something I should be doing more often also 🙂
As I write this today I am reminded about how difficult it was for me to walk away from the generations of religious traditions I had grown up with. I had attended Sunday School and church almost every Sunday as a child. I had watched my grandfather a lay preacher in the Brethren Church preach and my mother believed only Brethren and Baptist people would populate heaven 🙁 Now someone was telling me sickness was not God getting me to sit down and listen (which had been easy for me to believe because I was not a good listener) but it was something I had the authority over. My grumpy, unthankful attitude was not a generational gene but a choice to allow self- centerness and flesh rule instead of the King of kings. And then there were my words! Words had power to bring life or death, this one really blew me away. I do have to confess here I had fun thinking about death sentences I would of liked to issue, but God is good He shut my mouth on those occasions, reminding me I could of been on death row with no way out either if it hadn’t been for Him. So I wondered about this word thing and decided I could not speak life all the time, after all I am only human, right?
I remember driving home shortly after I made the decision to change churches thinking, “I want to go back, it was so much easier when everything was God’s fault. This being responsible is hard work!” But as you can guess I didn’t go back. I haven’t got everything right or figured out but I am pressing forward. The hard work has become easier as I have learned to rest in His love for me.
So today I am thankful that there have been people in my life who have prayed “on my behalf”. Some have prayed with wisdom, knowing what God was seeking from me and others have just prayed God’s will be done and He has done it. I am thankful that this morning before I even knew this would be the verse God had me praying “on behalf” for those in the church who so want to be a part of the move of God but just haven’t been able to catch the wind of the Spirit under their wings yet, that we who can will lift them up and drag them along until they are able to fly on their own. I am thankful today that I can always on others behalf present them to God that His grace would be evident to them this day.
So on behalf of you my friends in Christ; I pray His love wraps you tight, His grace and mercies overtake you today. I am so thankful for each of you. May His richest blessings: peace, presence, protection and provision be yours today and always. 🙂
Susan Craig says:February 11, 2015 at 3:41 pm
The word in this verse today that pops out is always-such a definitive word-no ambiguity in it at all. I always thank my God-the only one true God-for you-my fellow believers in Christ. How many of us can truely say that we do that-sometimes maybe-but always??? Even the brother or sister who is difficult to get close to,even the one who has it all together and I subsequently feel inferior to, even the one who is in a place of success, the wandering one, the one gifted with many gifts,the one who needs constant encouragement………?? I thank God always for each of them???? That was not an easy thing for Paul to do and it certainly is a challenge for us to do. But the rest of the verse is the key to how it is possible to do-because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus. The always is not able to be done on our own strength-if we think it is,we are setting ourselves up for failure right from the get go. God’s grace freely given to all of us makes it possible. None of us deserve grace-it is freely given to us in Christ Jesus-Jesus already did the hard work-He gave up His heavenly home to live with us,He suffered for us,gave His life for us,showed us true love and compassion,still interceeds for us and advocates for us…….-this is who He is-because of who He is and what He has done and still is doing on our behalf-only because of Him are we even able to be truely thankful-when we recognize all that He did for us, knowing what has been done for us by grace-only then can we extend grace/gratitude to others-only when I realize how undeserving I am of ANY blessing in my life, can I even begin to appreciate what He is doing in anyone elses life/heart/mind. It is IN HIM that ANY of us have been enriched in EVERY way-only IN Jesus is it possible to thank God for our brothers and sisters in Christ because we realize that our lives have been enriched-made infinitely better-in not just some ways … in EVERY way-another absolute word-every. Because of the Grace of God that we do not ever deserve ,only made possible through Jesus Christ, we are able to thank God always for our fellow believers because we realize how blessed in every possible way all of us are. We are all enriched,all recipients of His Grace,all rescued,all redeemed,all being conformed to the image of Christ,all in the same family-all of us. Thanking the Lord today for each one of the members of His body of believers-together we are alive in Him,together we are strong in Him,together we are fighting the battle of sin,together we have victory,together we are building up the body of Christ,together we are working for His purposes in this world,together we are able-we are all in this Christian life together and thankfulness is the means by which we appreciate the work done in each individual and collectively as the body of Christ. Help me Lord to never forget that not only am I never alone because You are always with me, but I am also never alone because you have placed me in your family of believers- members of your body-for a purpose-with a sure goal, sure outcome and sure destination. I thank my God for you,and you,and you and you………………….
Sue Holmes says:February 12, 2015 at 2:40 am
This blog hasn’t been an easy one to respond to. Which is probably why I am commenting on day 19 during the wee hours of day 20. 🙂 I can think of numerous people whom I thank God for whenever I think of them. Not necessarily people who always agree with me (or I with them) but they always encourage & challenge. But I have to admit that I have struggled at times when it comes to being grateful for others who seem to be walking in blessing while I wonder if God has forgotten that I exist.
Having lived through 50++ years of a progressively degenerative disease that has robbed me of most of my independence has both brought me to new levels of faith in God and challenged that faith at every turn. I now live with the reality that with the slightest change in the circumstances around me, my life could be turned upside down and the only thing that would remain constant is God.
I know what it is like to get a word from God and see it fulfilled in others while my own situation grew starker. I first prayed for healing nearly 40 years ago. I believed & received small confirmations along the way. Then the most striking confirmation came nearly 10 years later when God showed me vividly in a dream/vision that I would be healed. Over & over since then I have received confirmations of God’s promise, sometimes from strangers who knew nothing of this promise from God. And yet there have been years of people praying over me for healing while others around me received from God. Years of seeing friends receive healing and blessings on their life that were undeniable miracles. I would be lying to say that these weren’t accompanied by times of disappointment for my own situation.
It is literally a war that goes on inside as I smile and am genuinely overjoyed at a friend’s miraculous touch from God But when alone the questions & self-doubts arise while tears fall. I find myself asking “why?” or more to the point, “why not me?” The enemy has used the blessings received by others to cause me to wonder what I’ve done wrong or to question God’s word to me in the first place. Feeling joy for my friends was often easy … gratitude in the moment sometimes not so much.
Days like today, when I ache inside to be able to simply get up and walk … walk around outside, walk to someplace (any place) or just experience the freedom of mobility and strength … these days the questions still arise. But I am reminded that His grace & mercy is measured out to meet what today will throw at me & I learn to be grateful all over again.
When I look at those around me receiving from God I can thank Him for the grace that He has given them. I cannot only be filled with gratitude but with joy as well because they have become a living testament to His grace. When I fix my focus where it should be, on my Saviour, my Provider, my Friend … it is then the disappointment pales compared to the joy I feel for those manifesting in their lives the fulfillment of the promise still awaiting me. I thank God for each of you.
Susan Craig says:February 12, 2015 at 4:21 am
I really appreciate your honesty Sue. I too have suffered with a chronic pain condition from the age of 30-the same year my last son was given to me-I was flat on my back in pain with 3 small children to look after. It was very frustrating and I spent much time in tears and seeking God in it all. Our Pastor’s wife and daughter in Ontario were such a blessing to me at that time and as they picked up my load and helped with the boys and housework,I could see how God was answering my prayers thru them-I saw Jesus’ humility and compassion and thanked the Lord for their willingness to help. Often through the years I have cried out to the Lord questioning why He gave me 3 boys and then allowed my illness to sap my strength so everything became a huge effort for me in raising them. It is not wrong to question God for understanding when we have been in a difficult situation for a long time. It is reality for many of us that the road we travel is difficult. I am reminded of how long Abraham had to wait to get his miracle son,Isaac. May God give you the strength to persevere down the road you are travelling and I do see you walking again-if not in this life,in Heaven for sure. I thank God for my health problems now because they have kept me dependent on the Lord for strength on a daily basis. They have also made me realize what the most important things in life are and helped me to let go of the non-essentials. I look forward to the day when we will walk together Sue-no pain or disability to hold us back. 🙂 I thank God for you because you are strong and dependent on the Lord and I wonder if your illness is a blessing given to you to keep you dependant on the Lord daily for strength and not be self reliant??? I have learned to look at my illness that way now-it keeps me humble.