We live in a “what have you done for me lately” culture. In the NBA, Vinny Del Negro led the Clippers to their most successful two year run in franchise history . . . but after an early playoff exit this past season, he was fired. George H.W. Bush was a hero during the first Desert Storm, but was not reelected two years later due to concerns about the economy. Over the past decade Apple has changed the music, computer, and wireless telephone industry, yet today, Wall Street analysts are wondering about Apple’s ability to innovate. As a people, do we really have THAT short a memory? All signs point to “yes.”
Sadly, this reality impacts our Christian lives and attitudes toward God as well. Something goes well and we praise God for His faithfulness, yet one week later when a storm hits, we mutter “how could He . . . ?” I am impacted by this phenomenon as well. Always living in the moment or looking ahead to the next big thing, I often forget to pause and say “thank you” for gifts already given.
In the Gospels, Jesus heals many, many people, but what happened to those people 6 and 12 months later? Though they were healed in miraculous fashion, they continued to live life on this planet, so they continued to experience difficulties, disappointments, and even death. For instance Lazarus was raised from the dead one April, but by the next April, his life would have resumed a normal pace — which probably included disagreements with his sisters, illnesses endured and other common experiences. In the midst of his current struggles, did Lazarus stop to have a party on the one year anniversary of his resurrection? I really wonder.
Though we don’t know what Lazarus did resurrection +1 year, we do know that many who were healed did not return to give thanks to the source of their healing. In Luke 17, Jesus heals 10 lepers, but only one returned to give thanks. I think the rest just got caught up in their present lives and forgot to look back and praise God for His goodness to them.
So, today . . . I want to be like the one and not the nine.
One year ago today, my wife (Kimberly) was dying of renal failure. But God took notice of her situation, and in His sovereign plan, He saw fit to heal her through a kidney transplant from her sister (Angie). So today, I want to return and give thanks.
- Thank you Lord for leading Angie to make this sacrificial gift to Kimberly. We smell the sweet aroma of the Gospel in this gift and we are forever thankful.
- Thank you Lord for the excellent team of doctors who oversaw Kimberly’s care leading up to the transplant. We believe the wisdom and timing you gave these men was a gift from You.
- Thank you Lord for the transplant team at Integris Baptist Hospital. Their skill and wisdom saw the blood clot at the time of transplant and corrected the problem, saving the transplanted kidney.
- Thank you Lord for the love and support shown to us by both of our families and our church family during the transplant last year. We saw you taking care of us through them and we thank You.
- Thank you Lord for an entire year without Kimberly getting sick. Even while on immunsuppresants, you have kept her healthy and strong. This is not an accident. Josh and I have both been sick several times this past year, but you have protected Kimberly. Thank You!
- Thank you Lord for being able to see Kimberly enjoy so many fun and active things this past year. In addition to regular exercise, I got to see Kimberly do a high ropes course, rock climb, hike to the top of the Continental Divide and White Water raft . . . all in the last month! Thank You Jesus! All these are reminders to us of Your work!
Of course, life this past year has not been perfect. In a Facebook/Blog/Twitter world, it is always possible to distort reality either positively or negatively. There are still questions and struggles and difficulties that we deal with (just like you). However, on this day, I do not want to have our present cause us to obscure God’s great work in the recent past. Today we want to celebrate . . . and invite you to celebrate with us.
I want our anniversary to be a spark to cause you to think about how God has been faithful to you and your family in the past. Take a moment today and thank Him, not just for His work in our lives but for His work in your life as well. Let’s not take a “what have you done for me lately” attitude toward our relationship with God. Let’s be like the one who returned and gave Him thanks, and not like the nine who forgot.
Jesus, THANK YOU.