September 30, 2013

Even a spoiled brat can learn how to be thankful

I cannot blame my parents. They indulged me, for they were told I would not live past sixteen. I cannot blame any other person but myself — for being never satisfied and prone to complaining. For years, the word “enough” was not in my vocabulary.

Jeremiah once was my favorite prophet, but now I read him and see lament on every page. He sees the disaster around him and declares that God is filled with wrath at the disobedience of His people.

My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me. Behold, the cry of the daughter of my people from the length and breadth of the land: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” “Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images and with their foreign idols?” “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded; I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me. (Jeremiah 8:18–21)

The author of today’s devotional focuses on the phrase about end of summer. It is that time of year here in Canada where the days grow shorter and that summer season of beauty is fading. We had frost this past week.

He compares autumn to the cycle of life moving toward the end. He warns that I do not lament as I grow older and enter those days when “the sap of the tree is halting in its upward current” and “the night is fast conquering the day.”

For some, and this touches me, there will be an Indian summer. The nights are cool, the days shorter, but they are sunny and beautiful. Those living in this season, metaphorically speaking, may have a haziness in their vision, but the sweetness of heaven has come into their souls. He quotes those proverbs that bless old age, if the aging are found “in the way of righteousness.”

His last lines touch me too. He points out that it is folly to sit down in midlife discouraged. The meridian of life may be passed and I have been routed in many a conflict, yet there are victories yet to gain. I need not mourn over physical, financial or other losses of prosperity because all things are mine: life, death, immortality, a throne in heaven, rivers of joy, even shining mansions and most of all God Himself.

The Lord has taught me the value of trials and how trouble comes for good and eternal purposes. I know that “on the coldest nights the aurora is brightest in the northern heavens” and that in Christ it is possible to take the hard knocks without complaint. It will not take long for God to make up in the next world for anything I have suffered or lost in this one. Instead of complaining how hard I have it or about what I don’t have, I can still take up my Bible filled with promises, get down on my knees before God, and thank Him for what I do have.

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