March 5, 2020

Photo: Quilts at Trinity Lone Oak, Eagan, Minnesota

What the world offers as a solution to an unplanned pregnancy is abortion. When someone is sick, elderly, or suffers with mental illness, the world offers physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. It becomes difficult to remain faithful to God’s Word when we live in a culture of death.

As Christians we know that God can change a bad situation into something very good. Yet, all we seem to hear about are the bad things. I guess that’s because unless it’s extremely sensational it doesn’t make the news for the day. Yet, what I consider real news comes with a touch of joy as our hearts are lifted up when we hear it.

For example, how about a mother who wasn’t sure having a baby was something she wanted or could handle? Yet, something happens at that moment of birth as that new life appears and excitement fills the room. Whether the mother has a change of heart or sees that the child gets a loving home through adoption, this is a seemingly bad thing turned very good. Or, how about a terminal diagnosis when all seems lost, but a family comes together in support of the patient, and life seems better even though the future is unsure. Working through the illness may bring some precious days as things like baptisms, confirmations, graduations, weddings, and more family events become more meaningful when each day is seen as a gift.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

We need to look for the good rather than focus on the bad. My local weatherman shows pictures of people having a birthday often doing things that are just plain fun. These are generally very young or very old people who at both spectrums of life are enjoying it.  He doesn’t show people with glum looks on their faces—they are happy people! That’s the news I like to see and hear. There is so much for which to give praise and glory to God in our world; we just need to be sure it doesn’t pass us by.

I also don’t think we do enough celebrating. A while ago our church celebrated with a couple who were married for 70 years. What a joy that was. We could have just waited and gathered at one of their funerals, but someone thought it would be great to let them see old friends, at least those still around. And they found great joy in greeting new friends who didn’t know them well but were curious about a 70-year marriage. I didn’t see a frown in the bunch that day. Praise the Lord!

Do birthdays go by without mention? I like to be reminded of someone’s birthday on Facebook as I would never have remembered all my friends’ birthdays otherwise. Although sometimes I am not fond of social media, I do appreciate the birthday reminders as a special means to celebrate online. My church publicizes weekly birthdays and anniversaries, maybe yours does too. Greeting people and sharing a blessing for their special day brings as much joy to me as to those receiving it. Enjoy those special birthday moments God gives us through His creation and the gift of life.

Everyone has been gifted in some way or another. Those having the gifts may not even be aware what a gift it really is. Yet, when used in service to the Lord, it is worthy of praise.

I marvel at the quilters at my church who quietly meet regularly. I don’t even know who they all are or what they do until once a year when they display their finished products on the church pews as they are dedicated for the mission for which they are intended. The gifts in the hands and hearts of those doing this labor of love are amazing. Yet, they keep their anonymity and find their Christian fellowship and acts of service reward enough.

May we be able to see God’s hand in the little things in life that are really very big things worthy of praise and thanksgiving! To God be the glory!