“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
Ah, the season of Thanksgiving. Yes, I know it’s an American holiday, but the world could benefit from gathering and breaking bread and reminiscing on things for which they are most thankful. The great thing about gratitude is that you don’t need a feast to inspire you, just an open heart and observant eyes.
We touched on this subject in a lesson for one of our investigators here in France. The topic: Faith in God can shift our perspective to see struggles as actual blessings. Listen to this verse:
We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.
This is one of the most comforting verses in the Bible. It announces God’s sovereignty in any trying, disheartening, difficult situation life may throw at us. All things work together.
Paul uses the word sunergeo which is linked to the word synergy. Paul is saying that God can make all things sunergeo for good. God is actively creating, constructing, fashioning and shaping even the difficult things – for good. Our good.
The best example of Good in my life is my family. Though my mom was recently diagnosed with Lupus and we may not have an abundance of wealth, our family is extremely rich in togetherness. We LOVE each other, laugh with each other, have fun, support, teach, uplift one another. We’re amazingly close. Even though we may not have everything we want – what we do have is an uber abundance of joy. Why? Seems illogical that we should be so happy even though we don’t seem monetarily blessed.
But that is the biggest blessing of all.
“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”
Despite everything, God broadens joy in what we do have. That is the miracle – the good – that happiness can emerge even through difficulty. That’s the lesson of the oyster.
Lesson of the Oyster
When a grain of sand invades the comfort of its shell, the oyster’s response to the irritation is key. He does not clam up or shell out. Instead, he copes with the struggle by emitting a substance that not only overcomes the affliction but also transforms the trial into a pearl.
Every pearl is simply a victory over irritations.
What a beautiful reminder for us. Life can be hard. But when we share those burdens with God, He lightens our load and broadens perspective. And those difficulties? Those irritants? Well, He also gives us the substance to turn any struggle into good.
“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies, but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”
Henry Ward Beecher
Soeur Lauren Nef