in all things, give thanks

Do you believe this important Pauline teaching?

I continue to see how important it is to give thanks in all things.

I just wrote to a friend telling him that the “provisional acceptance” that I thought I had in a doctoral program is, it seems, far more provisional that I realized. But, since I invested sixteen years in the academy and learned about academic credentials and accrediting and so forth, and the importance of each of those concepts to individuals and institutions, when I learned that I am not as “provisionally accepted” as I once thought, I understood.

A friend recently said that we live in a world of credentials. If you’ve been following this story, you know that this possibility of doctoral study is not something that I went seeking. I was urged to pursue this and, to me, my wife and my advisors, it made a great deal of sense. Still does, and I have not actually given up on the possibility, and will continue to pray (and read). But I am reminded that life is about following Him and learning lessons.

When we are faced with news or experiences that are not exactly what we wished, we should step back and take a bigger view.  Indeed, it is incumbent upon us to seek God’s view. This takes a view that God is sovereign. A couple of hours ago, my board chair who was writing a letter toward this effort asked if this were going to happen, I said that I’ll believe it when I see it on paper. I am a not an optimist, but instead, am a realist who believes in possibilities, possibilities that God uses to change lives. I actually believe in this possibility and boldly ask you to pray and ask God to make that thing happen that is best for me, my family and my work in the Kingdom.

But, let’s practice the God view thing, looking away from the possibility in future and into the here and now, I must stand back and look at what I can be thankful for – now. Here is what I wrote a friend: “…But, a bit of disappointment aside, I am… …encouraged in several ways. I’m very glad for having gotten back into a disciplined study mode. Why, just in the last seven days of speaking with our partners on Skype and in person, I have been integrating material from the reading [750 pages that I’ve finished so far]. So, to renew one’s vigor for study is a discipline that God will use to bless both me and CEO. The other unexpected blessing is that the need to set 2-3 hours a day aside in the (earlier) morning for study has made me become a better manager of my time and has actually made me more productive in my day. The reading and the better time management have been a blessing to me… …Perhaps it is not God’s desire for me to be in this program, but He has already used this process to sharpen my ministry, for that I am grateful.  I am not quite ready to give up praying and working – indeed I think Mueller comes into play here: “pray like its all up to God and work like its all up to you.”

So, the lesson that I am reminded of today is that I am learning how to practice this urging of Paul: “in all things, give thanks.”

Oh, as I noted above, I have not quite given up. So please ask God to do that which is the best for us and if that is that I am granted admission on paper, thanks be to God! and if not, thanks be to God!

1 Comment

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One response to “in all things, give thanks

  1. In response to this post, I received this quote from Billy Graham; Graham was asked if he had regrets, he replied:

    “Yes. I would study more. I would pray more, travel less, take less speaking
    engagements. I took too many of them in too many places around the world. If I had it to do over again, I’d spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love him and adore him and looking forward the time we’re going to spend together for eternity.”

    Yeah, I get this. I am reminded and encouraged.

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