Circumstances, Grace, and Gratitude

How fascinating when several avenues in our life converge and it results in a new understanding of who we are or of who we are meant to be, when they come together and totally change our perspective or our trajectory. Lately, I have been emerged in a study of Gideon, a Biblical hero of faith listed in the book of Hebrews. He did not start out that way! When first mentioned in Judges, he is hiding in a wine press threshing wheat. This is a very unconventional place to thresh wheat but Gideon is hiding in order to protect the wheat from the enemy who is oppressing his people. Meanwhile he is visited by an angel of The Lord with this message, “the Lord is with you, mighty warrior!” From our perspective, Gideon is fearful and hiding; from God‘s perspective he is declared a mighty warrior (Judges 6:11-12); and finally from Gideon’s perspective he is the weakest and the youngest (verse15). Whether we like it or not so is our lives. People see us from one perspective, we see ourselves from another, yet God sees us beyond those perspectives. He sees us for who we are, who He created us to be, and our unlimited potential in Him.

I don’t know about you but I am not that different from Gideon. I tend to be hard on myself and to be insecure, though some have said they see me as confident and strong, I rarely qualify. They only see the outside, my actions and have no idea what is in my heart unless I share it. Again, from God’s perspective, He sees the real me, the good, the bad, and the ugly. He also knows the destiny He created me for and the potential that I have, especially if I walk with Him. He has a plan and purpose for us; he also allows us free will to choose what path we will take.

Imagine our lives as series of roads, for this purpose we will picture if we can three roads. One is a beautiful road with flat places shaded by the covering of pretty trees at times, further along it meets with fields of flowers, rolling hills, and even the rougher terrain along the way is beautiful and pleasing to the eye.  We will call it God’s Grace. The next road is direct and straight for a long-span, it divides and goes different directions at a certain point and from there tends to meander and wind at times. It’s name is Circumstance. The last road is a perimeter like roadway, each of the other roads intersect with this road at some point and this road ALWAYS circles back to God’s Grace. This road is called Gratitude. All of these roads intersect each other at different places and each has an impact on the other.

Our lives are often lived in our circumstances. We are walking or driving along straight and smooth, something happens, a bump in the road, a sickness, or a tragedy and we are at a fork in the road. Which way will we choose to go? Will we go with the west fork or the east fork? For those of us who know God and have trusted Jesus, will we trust His promises? Will we see His grace and allow it to take us to gratitude? Will we take a turn on gratitude, knowing He is good and trust Him until we reach the path of God’s Grace. Will we possibly take the more winding path of West Circumstance taking the long way to God’s Grace and eventually finding our way to Gratitude. There is also the option of just staying on the road of our circumstance, east or west and continuing on their long paths and totally miss God’s Grace and Gratitude.

For me, I have chosen different options including the absolute longest roads back to His grace and to gratitude in a few cases. Trust me that one is not a healthy one!  After many trials and troubles and tragedies  it is my desire to take the shortest, straightest route to see Him bring grace and glory from both the good circumstances and the bad. Do I want difficult circumstances? Are you kidding me, no! Can I give thanks in a hard time? Maybe, maybe not. Can I believe that despite tragedy God is always good? Yes, He has proved it again and again. Can I believe He can take the worst circumstance and bring something good from it or despite of it? Yes, I have seen it and personally experienced it.  I write this today with a broken heart. Our small town has experienced tragedy today. While I was writing this, a wonderful man, a friend that owns our local jewelry store was viciously gunned down as four males decided that their desires and wealth or lack of was more valuable than his life. Three of them are on the loose. Tragedy!!! Heartbreak!!! Be assured, this does not change God’s Goodness!! This is a product of a fallen world and a culture that has come to value things and use people, a culture where wrong is accepted as right and right is judged as wrong. We can not blame God for these things when we are the ones who choose our own paths! We can strive to make good and right choices and teach others within our influence to do likewise.
I am not an artist, but they might look like this:

Image

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