The news reports of the power outages in the eastern part of the U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Irene last week include a lot of whining. Knowing that reporters tend to go for the dramatic, it is likely that such people are in the minority, but the stories bother me. We have many relatives and friends in southeast Texas who have dealt with longer outages from previous hurricanes who refrained from whining, realizing that repair takes time when damage is widespread. So far reports that I have seen from this week’s Texas wildfires focus on people thankful for their lives, even while they mourn the loss of everything they own.
Aren’t we whining when we focus on what is hard in our lives rather than God’s gracious provision? That response reveals an attitude of entitlement: “I deserve to have ____ (health, perfect children, good things, no struggles, etc.).” Shouldn’t we be thankful for what we do have rather than gripe about what we don’t? Do I make that choice when faced with trials or even a difficult day? Do you?
I appreciate storm victims who express gratitude for their homes, their lives, and for the hard-working people trying to help them. I am sad for all the victims, even those who whine, recognizing how hard their situations must be.
“In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).
It’s biblical to express our grief and sorrow. Don’t think that joy precludes sadness. When we lament our losses, however, we should do so with thanksgiving for God’s sovereign work in the midst of our pain. When we focus on trusting him for the greater good, our perspectives change. We begin to recognize that all of life is grace; we aren’t entitled to anything. As we give thanks in everything, we begin to walk in joy, blessing others, giving glory to God, and in the process becoming witnesses to a watching world.
What verses help you choose thanksgiving?