Food for thought from “In This Mountain” by Jan Karon:
She took a sip of coffee and eyed the chair. Why didn’t she sit down in the blooming thing? Why didn’t she ever sit down? Her grandmother had never sat down, her mother had never sat down, and the gene had clearly passed to her. Refusing to give herself time to think about it further, she thumped into the chair, signing deeply.
Heaven help her for being raised Baptist. The Baptists hardly ever sat down, unlike the Presbyterians, of which she was now one, who occasionally sat down. Episcopalians were another matter; they appeared to sit down whenever they wanted to.
The trouble with sitting down, of course, is that it made you feel guilty. She pondered this. Maybe what she needed to do was get up and go inside and grab her yellow tablet and bring it out here and, while sitting down, make a list of things to do.
But if she got up and went inside, she would never come back.
I paint houses. I got a truck, a couple of ladders, I keep busy. Th’ whole deal is to show up on time, do your work, stay sober, an’ clean up after yourself.
[selected lines from a sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:18]
In everything, give thanks. That’s all. That’s this morning’s message.
Though we don’t do it often enough, it’s easy to have a grateful heart for food and shelter, love and hope, health and peace. But what about the hard stuff, the stuff that darkens your world and wounds you to the quick? Just what is this everything business?
It’s the hook. It’s the key. Everything is the word on which this whole powerful command stands and has its being.
Some of us have been in trying circumstances these last months. Unsettling. Unremitting. Even, we sometimes think, unbearable. Dear God, we pray, stop this! Fix that! Bless us – and step on it!
Why have I decided to take these four words as a personal commission? Here’s the entire eighteenth verse:
In everything, give thanks . . . for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
His will concerning you. His will concerning me.
Our obedience will say, Father, I don’t know why You’re causing, or allowing, this hard thing to happen, but I’m going to give thanks in it because You ask me to. I’m going to trust You to have a purpose for it that I can’t know and may never know. Bottom line, You’re God – and that’s good enough for me.