It seems like we are regularly given opportunities to teach the kids about gratitude. This past week and a half it has been about the air conditioning, or lack of it, in this very hot and humid weather. After the first day, when we reminded them that God has provided a clean, safe, beautiful home for us even if the AC is acting up, no one murmured a word of complaint. We told them that some people will never experience the luxury of AC – and endure much hotter temps than this. We only have to endure it for a very short time. During family prayers, we’ve heard a lot of words of thanks for giving them this “trial” of no AC.
We’ve talked about trials often – especially this last year as the kids are getting older and it becomes more real for them. Our Spurgeon devotions have been very helpful in this way. Here is an excerpt from today’s:
“Changing circumstances often causes the anxious believer to ask, “Why is this happening to me?”….Is this part of God’s plan for me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith- they are waves that wash you further upon the rock- they are winds that steer your ship more quickly toward the desired haven. Do not think, believer, that your sorrows are out of God’s plan; they are necessary parts of it. Learn, then, to “count it all joy…when you meet trials of various kinds.” James 1:2”
We had been talking about place settings for our etiquette time today. The kids each took turns setting a proper place setting with fork, knife, spoon, napkin, and plate. So after reading the devotion above, the Lord inspired me: I picked up the plate, handed it to Noah, and told the children that this is what God does for each of us. He gives us a plate – filled with all manner of things – things desirable to us, and things that seem not so desirable. And no matter what is on it, we should accept the plate eagerly, with a thankful heart, knowing He gives it to us for our good and His glory.
When you are given a plate with something unexpected, maybe even something you really didn’t think you needed (or wanted), ask God to help you to “Consider it all joy…” and take the plate with a heart of gratitude. It is being given to you by One Who loves you and takes care of you.