In Everything Give Thanks
"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:8
Many years ago, a sweet sister blessed me with a pretty wall decor bearing this scripture. It's easy to rejoice and give thanks when things are going well. It's often tougher when they are not.
The following verse has become a long-time favorite of mine. The Holy Spirit graciously brings it to my mind whenever I need it.
"Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless, I will argue my ways before Him." Job 13:15
Job tells us, "I will argue my ways before Him." Remember, God called Job a righteous man. It's okay for us to speak directly to God about how we feel concerning our life circumstances. It's then that He can give us His Godly perspective and minister/teach us the lesson in that which He has allowed into our lives for our sanctification. This is when we can grasp the fulness of Romans 8:28-30 ("All things work together for good...") and James 1:2-8 ("Consider it all joy...")
Our family has recently made a very big move, which has changed our lives in many ways. The social and economic dynamics of our new city, compared to the old one, are huge. For instance, we don't have a natural gas connection. My husband and son are responsible for keeping the fire of our central heating system going 24/7 (which also means chopping and stacking the wood). The temperature drops to well below zero degrees at night, so JeJe must waken during the night to replenish the fire.
Many other things have changed as well. Most people in our new city are "working class," but almost an equal amount are very poor. The conditions they live in reflect their poverty. They have no running water in their homes, no money for coal or wood to heat their living quarters, and many eat bread and butter because they can't afford more nutritious food.
Our former city boasted of two shopping malls, two Starbucks (a BIG deal here in Romania), four McDonalds, three KFCs, and two Subway sandwich stores. Here, the nearest McDonalds is over an hour drive away. Perspective is everything!
I've spent this past week unpacking boxes. Up to this point we had spent the entire year of 2016 living out of suitcases, boxes and plastic bags. We were in the U.S. for six moths due to my health issues. Prior to our return to Romania, we knew God was going to do something "New." The church in our former city of Cluj did very well without us, which was an answer to our prayers. God was asking us to move.
When we returned to Cluj we began packing, preparing for the coming adventure. Newly packed boxes sat side by side with the items we didn't need to unpack when we arrived back from the U.S. Through this we have learned to live with less when necessary. However I'm not complaining. When I look at what the people in our new city endure, any complaint that may have been welling up in my heart has been quickly and graciously stifled by the Lord.
Every day has brought new challenges - a broken faucet, snow (which means we bundle up and drive in snow and ice), learning to cook on a stove-top with the heat suppled from a gas bottle, low capacity electric water heater which affects our showers ("military-style" - rinse, wash, rinse again with water running only for the quick rinses) and laundry (one load takes sixty to ninety minutes and the washer capacity is one-third of that in the U.S.). Tap water isn't safe for drinking so we buy bottled water. Oh, did I say all laundry is line-dried, all year round?
There are pockets of gypsies throughout our neighborhood with much dirt (roads aren't paved) and trash strewn about. My list could go on and on, but I am going to focus on Jesus - all He left behind for me - and all He came to do. He left Heaven. He came here knowing it would end in betrayal, humiliation and the ultimate sacrifice. He came because, no matter how much or little we have, we need Him!
I'm often reminded of the lyrics to a Mercy Me song that God used years ago to launch us back into serving Him here in Romania. "Such a tiny offering compared to Calvary." Whatever we go through today, we can rejoice in Calvary - our victory in Him - and allow Him to use that very thing for our sanctification.
Don't despise the very thing that God is using to drive you to Him.
I have so much to be thankful for. I go to bed each night thanking Him for a great life in Him. It was good to have all my material blessings packed away for so long. As I have unpacked each one my heart gives thanks over all the things He has blessed me (us) with.
My hope and blessings are in Christ Jesus. I love sharing our Blessed Hope with the people in great need around me. We can live without a lot of belongings, but we can't live without Him and His power in our lives. That is worth singing out in Praise and Thanksgiving.
"...but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57
"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place." 2 Corinthians 2:24
Happy Thanksgiving from Coleen Jejeran, Missionary to Romania