I’m thankful for the hard times
Thanks is a funny thing. It’s a lot like the word blessed. I hear a lot of people today talk about how thankful and blessed they are. The connotations of the words “thanks” and “blessed” have been usurped by a world upside down.
Here’s another take on giving thanks. Perhaps, it will provide a little salt that will make you rethink the idea of being thankful.
For the past year and a half, I’ve technically been unemployed while actively seeking employment. Along the way, I’ve received assistance and help in some of the most unconventional ways.
I say technically unemployed because for the last 20-plus years, I’ve done things the conventional way: I’ve worked at a job, received a steady check and carved out a niche for myself and my family based on doing a good job and building a reputation of accuracy and good writing.
When my world changed about 18 months ago, I had to start thinking outside the box. My wife and I ramped up our musical career, playing original songs and covers for tips as well as being hired to provide entertainment. You see, music is our life. We play in public as well as in our living room. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ll tell you this, the blessings of playing and getting paid for music resemble something like manna from heaven.I remember the weekend when my wife and I had $11 in the bank and three gigs to make at least $500 to pay for essential bills. We laughed with joy and amazement as we counted out some $550 that literally fell from heaven.
We remember the numbers not adding up and thinking about giving up music, fulfilling our remaining contractual obligations and selling our instruments. Then, we received calls that kept us busy three to four nights each week through the fall. I’m thankful for every dollar and every instance where our music brought us into contact with people who allowed us to have an impact on their lives: the children, the little old ladies and the gentlemen with major musical chops offering encouragement. I’ll tell you, three to four hours of playing music to an audience is like breathing for us.
I’m thankful for the false accusations generated from those who sought to bury me. They must have forgotten that we are seeds. After a short time, seeds rise again. Thank you, Lord.
I’m thankful for being rejected. Only in being rejected can we actually understand how our Lord felt when He was rejected. Rejection also teaches compassion on the lowly and poor.. Thank you, Lord.
I’m thankful for being taught to be generous during tough times. It feels good to be generous out of abundance. Try it during tough times. It’s come back to us numerous times in a positive way.
I’m thankful for a fire that took away all our earthly possessions. It taught me about the value of real possessions and the generosity of people. Thank you, Lord.
I’m thankful for the loss of a job. It’s taught me that little is permanent. At what price do you pay for a paycheck? Your soul? Does having a job make you special? Does having a regular paycheck mean that we are more deserving. In the end, the life we leave behind and the divine decision we make are the only things that matter. You will find the true measure of a person when what they place their faith in is threatened. Thank you, Lord, for refocusing my faith.
I’m thankful for hurtful comments. Those who make them, I realize, aren’t really responsible.
I’m thankful for 20 years of conventional life that brought me blessings, the most valuable being the finding of true love in a second marriage. There’s nothing sweeter than love based on the heart. Most blush when they see our love on display on stage when we sing together. Thank you, Lord.
I’m thankful for being able to cry out and ask why when we go through hard times. Why?
But at the end of the day, I’m thankful not so much for what I have in my hand, but in the hope I have in my heart for the things to come. I’ll quote a thought I recall from the Bible: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Now that is the real life challenge…will I bless the Lord when He takes away?
Lastly I am thankful for hard times which gave others the chance to show the true mark of friendship by being there for me in good times and bad. Their care and support have been a balm of Gilead for me. Thank you Lord.
Thanks during the tough times makes it all the more real when “all these things and more will be added” to the score as the hope of things unseen in our hearts comes to fruition.