Posted on: November 18, 2021 Posted by: vufc2 Comments: 0

By Ellen Nimmo

Doing?  Oh.  Wait, you said, “going?”  As such?  You mean like, as it is?  “Currently?”  Like, “Currently, how’s it going?”  Oh.  Yeah.  Right.  Hmmm.  Like uh, like, right now, right now?  Like today?  Or like, “Lately?”  I mean . . . things are fine.  Like, yeah, they’re fine.  Totally.  Haha, yeah.  I mean things are OK.  Haha, yeah, yeah, yep, “Just living the dream.” You know.  Got nothing to complain about.  Haha. Yeah.  You know.  Doing OK.  Yeah, doing great.  I mean, “Going great,” haha!  Yeah.  Yeah.  Of course.  Oh my gosh.  Yeah.  Hey, uh, hey how, how are you doing?

Do you ever have this kind of interaction in the hallway?  By the watercooler?  At the grocery store?  In line at the DMV, the coffee shop, the dentist’s office, the sandwich joint, the bathroom sink, at church?  Or are you way less awkward than me?  You probably are.  Still.  Do you at least kinda know what I mean?  A little bit? 

Yeah.  Thought so.  😊

It’s not like this is really new or anything.  Perhaps it’s just gotten a little more pronounced – lately.  What with a pretty intense last couple of years (worldwide), even under the best of circumstances.  So it makes sense.  We’re all a little less sure these days about, “How it’s going?” than we used to be.  But.  Maybe that ain’t all bad. 

Last week my friend wrote that she, “Got everything I ever wanted.”  She wrote it and, I suspect, she meant it.  She’s so weird.  I love her, but honestly, Who says that sort of thing?  I thought about that question while I was shoveling.  So I dug at the question too.  And dug.

I came up with an answer:  Grateful people; that’s who

Because it’s not that my friend hasn’t had disappointments.  It’s not that she’s unfamiliar with sorrow.  Or frustration.  Or confusion or heartache.  She lives in this world, after all.  No, it’s just that she sees her entire life as a gift.  At least, she strives to remember it as such.  I should know, I sit next to her at work. 

Furthermore, I’ve heard, and believe that things haven’t been going super-well for anybody for quite some time (Genesis 3:16-24).  And, I’ve also heard things are going along precisely according to a loving plan (Romans 8:28). 

Circumstantially, it can feel confusing to the human heart. 

Most of us want days filled with “success.”  We want successful relationships, endeavors, even successful religion.  And most of us want to feel in control too.  In control of our health, our relationships, our emotions.  Yet we sweat and toil.  Our work has thistles and thorns.  Even the growing of our families can be painful.  And our beloveds?  They move, they neglect, they die.  As those verses in Genesis continue their reverberation through time, we surely must know:  We aren’t in Eden any more

That second verse I referenced, Romans 8:28, is a popular one.  If you’ve been around Christianity for a while (or even if you haven’t) you might have heard it quoted or read or sung or you might have seen it tacked up on someone’s fridge or sewn into their pillows.  With good reason.  It’s encouraging to know that God is aware of our circumstances, that He cares, and is always working things out for the best, despite how things may appear or feel. 

The other day my mother texted me.  She said the radio DJ had just announced, “It’s 8:38 AM.”  Which reminded her of the time I was born:  8:38 AM.  For a split second I thought of that verse, the Romans 8:28 one, then wondered, “But what does 8:38 say?” So I looked it up. 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

The morning time announcement, from a radio DJ in Oregon, connected me and my mother, by way of remembering our very first moments together.  Well, I’m guessing she remembers them.  I was probably still a bit in shock, being only a few moments this side of the womb.  Anyway, it was very sweet to think about just how long my mother has known me and loved me.  And that even with all that knowing, she loves me still.

It was enough to get me feeling grateful. 

And after reading those verses in Romans?  Humbled.  And so full of thanksgiving.  So challenged to trust more, worry less.  To rejoice.  To serve.  To count and share blessings.  Mine.  Yours.  Ours. 

Sometimes someone comes along, or maybe it’s a group of someones, some folks like Kelly and Hartley Wright, who share about their gratitude and just make you go, “Dang.”  Their steadfast faith in the midst of trail is like an up-to-the-minute account, coming in live over the airways, of ways that God is providing and guiding and making Himself known at the core of the strange circumstances we may find ourselves amidst.  You can listen to their story here

And the really trippy thing is:  No matter what you’re going through today, no matter what your circumstances may be, currently, like right now, like today, or even like next week or month or year, no matter how good or how bad it may look and feel, I guarantee someone out there cares and is willing to help shoulder the burden with you.  Also, and most notably:  God cares. 

Indeed the Creator of heaven and earth knows and sees and is sovereign over each of our circumstances.  And He is working all things for Good.  And nothing, no nothing, can separate us from His enduring love. 

This Thanksgiving wherever you find yourself, in whatever circumstance, I pray that God would send you some special reminder of His love, a love which we cannot be separated from.  Not death can separate us.  Not life.  Not angels!  Not demons!  Nothing in the present or in the future.  Truly no powers, no great height, nor any great depth, nor anything else in all creation!  No, nothing may separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. 

Sew it on your pillow.  Stitch it to your sleeve.  Embroider it on the memory of your heart.   

Wishing you a joyful and abundant Thanksgiving.

Want more thoughts on gratitude? Click here.

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