Please welcome Linda Shenton Matchett to Faith in Writing. She has written a guest post for the Gratitude Fridays Feature.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations. I Peter 1:6
It’s easy to be grateful when life is good, isn’t it? We have a great job, we’re healthy, and our family life is percolating merrily along. We pay our bills, take a vacation now and again, and maybe even save a little money. We smile and say “praise the Lord.”
Then we hit a pothole, a giant chasm that we disappear into, wondering if things will ever be right again. Perhaps we lose our job, or someone wrongs us terribly. Maybe our kids begin to dabble in drugs or we or a loved one are diagnosed with the dreaded “C” word-cancer. Suddenly, rather than thanking God for our troubles, we are like Job and curse the day we were born.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there. I was laid off only six weeks after starting a job and didn’t find employment until fifteen months later. I had a health scare that dragged on for weeks, then lost my mother-in-law to cancer after a long battle. My husband and I were hurt deeply by some people in a church who spread lies about my husband and treated him like a villain. While mired in those events, it was tough to see any blessings or to be grateful they were occurring. But I discovered when I rested in God and allowed him to take my anxiety, anger, and pain into his arms, I experienced the “peace that passeth all understanding.” (Phil. 4:7)
My books are primarily set during WWII, a traumatic time in world history. Part of my research involves reading first person accounts of the war and watching interviews. People shared stories of man’s atrocities to man, and although it’s been seventy-five years since the war ended, some have not been able to shed the bitterness and hatred they harbor in their hearts as a result of their suffering.
However, there are others who spoke of their hope and trust in God that got them through bombings, starvation, death of loved ones, enemy occupation, and internment in concentration camps where they were subjected to unimaginable horrors. These people told how they laid their suffering at the foot of God’s throne, and he took on their tragedies giving them peace in the midst of sorrow. It’s hard to believe, but a few people even declared they were grateful for what they experienced.
Gratitude is an emotion, and when we receive a lovely gift or someone does something special for us, we readily feel grateful. But gratitude is also an act of will, a choice. Like Paul, we can choose to be grateful in spite of our circumstances, resting in the fact “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Is it simple to be grateful? Yes.
Is it easy? No. We humans like to take things into our own hands and are reluctant to give up control no matter how difficult life gets. The good news is that because we have hope in the Lord, hope that in eternal life, we can be grateful no matter what circumstances we experience.
What are you grateful for today?
Under Fire Blurb: Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive. During her investigation, Ruth becomes suspicious about Jane’s job.
Eventually Ruth follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead.
Author Bio: Linda Shenton Matchett is a journalist, blogger, and author. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and as a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader. She is author of several romance novellas and novelettes. Under Fire, the first in her trilogy about amateur sleuth/war correspondent Ruth Brown, has just been released by eLectio Publishing.
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