I awakened this morning with a heart full of gratitude. I was immediately grateful when my feet hit the floor. I wasn’t standing in dirty flood water. I was grateful there isn’t a Cat 5 hurricane bearing down on me and my family. Even though we have earthquakes in Oklahoma, I’m grateful we haven’t experienced an 8.1, followed by a tsunami. I could walk outside in the cool morning air and not smell the smoke from the fires that are destroying our west. I was grateful that a lunatic in North Korea hasn’t unleashed a hydrogen bomb on humanity. I was also grateful for the small things. The air conditioner that ran all night, lights that came on when I hit the switch, a working coffee pot, and dry clothes in my closet. I was grateful for the food in my refrigerator and the fuel in my gas tank. Grateful.
Then I immediately prayed. Prayed for all of those who are suffering and struggling. I prayed for one sister in Houston who still can’t get to her house except by wading through knee-deep flood waters, and for another sister who is stuck in traffic trying to get out of Florida. They will be okay, but there are millions of others who are going to be dealing with these disasters for years. I think of the people of the Caribbean who live in third world conditions on a good day. They are devastated. I think of the people of Texas who live paycheck to paycheck (like most of America). They need their jobs and might not have a job to go back to. I pray for those who have lost loved ones, and for those who have lost their houses, cars, possessions, pets, and livestock. For the school teacher who equipped her classroom at her own expense, and now is starting from nothing.
In spite of all these problems, I’m grateful to be an American. We have seen the true American spirit in the last days and weeks, and we will see it again in Florida. People who opened up their homes to strangers, men and women who left the comfort of home to go volunteer. I’m grateful for the armada of small boats, rafts, and canoes that showed up to help people. Grateful for the legitimate relief agencies that were all staged and ready to go, and for the overwhelming generosity of the rest of us who feel helpless. Grateful for the churches that sprang into action. And I’m so grateful to the people who took pity on the animals that have been affected by these disasters.
Most of all I am grateful for a God who is not caught off guard by any of this. I can trust that He is a good God, whose purposes toward us are always redemptive. I can rest in the knowledge that He is orchestrating people and events to bring about His purpose. He holds the hearts of eveil despots in the palm of his hand. I’m grateful that He is only a prayer away, that He is never closer than when we are afraid and suffering.I’m grateful that I can rely on His promises in good times and bad.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11