I spent last night at our local Little League field, waiting for the rainout.
This time of year, the ball field is where I spend most of my evenings, as my two sons are both playing, and their schedules keep our family there more often than we are at home. In a lot of ways, I kinda love that. It’s a running joke that if you need to find me and its baseball season, the ball field is the best place to start looking. It really is accurate.
Last night was a game that we thought just might not happen, because the forecast called for thunderstorms. Not just ‘a chance of rain’, but a 100% chance of serious rain. Flash flooding, tornadoes, and generally severe weather were all in the mix and all expected.
Since baseball and severe weather don’t mesh well, my sons and I prayed that God would hold off the rain so that they could play their first game of the season. I have read stories with them about prophets who prayed for rain to come, or to stay away, so figured this was well withing the power of God to handle.
It may have seemed presumptuous to ask God to withhold rain because of a little league baseball game, but we prayed for it anyway.
The funny thing is, God answered that prayer.
Develop an Attitude of Thankfulness
If you have been following along, I have been re-establishing the habit of reading a Proverb a day; a habit that I have been in and out of for some time. We are now nine days into the month and I have only missed one day. But that’s okay. Time with God isn’t about checking a box to be sure it is done every day. The point is to create and then cement the habit of spending time alone with God each morning.
Occasionally I have also taken the extra step of sharing a verse that was especially meaningful to me that day so that I might encourage others.
In making this habit, I have noticed an attitude of thankfulness developing. Each morning I am thankful for my family, my health, my friends. When I take just a little bit of time to think about all that I am thankful for and spend time thanking the One who gives me these blessings, it completely changes the tone of my day.
This morning I was thankful for how both my sons were able to play their baseball games last night.
This morning I was thankful that even though my car is in rough shape, it got me safely to work.
This morning I was thankful for my wife, and her diligence to raise our children to value Kingdom success over worldly success.
This morning I was thankful for my Church family.
This is just the start of all that I am thankful for today.
When we take a step back and look at the many little ways that God blesses us, it changes our perspective, and forces us to view life through a lens of thankfulness instead of a blurred perspective of hassles and deadlines. This is pretty much the way I view life outside of my time with God; frustrated and discouraged with the negatives.
Not Just a Coincidence
One of the biggest obstacles to thankfulness is forgetting that God is the source of all we are thankful for. One of my biggest pet peeves is when we pray for something, and then write it off as a mere coincidence.
How often does this happen: we encounter a circumstance beyond our control, and suddenly find ourselves turning to God more than maybe we usually do. We spend time in prayer, ask others to pray for us, and wait for something to change. It could be a job situation, a relationship in need of mending, an illness, financial pain, or any other kind of event that sends us to pray.
When we see a resolution, when God does something to move that mountain and change that situation for our good and for his glory, do we give him the glory, or just pass it off as a ‘coincidence’?
God Answers Prayers
It is heartbreaking to see God move in answer to our pleading, and to then dismiss it as nothing special. How many times have we seen God provide financial rescue, and we so often just say how lucky that a job fell in our lap, or ‘persistence paid off’. How many times have we seen God miraculously bring healing, or miraculously move a deadline we couldn’t meet, and we then simply chalk it up to good medicine or random chance.
But when I take the time to remember just who God is, who I am, and how He has carried me through circumstance after circumstance after circumstance, I am more apt to give him credit where his credit is due. When I give him the glory for every good and perfect gift, my days become filled with thanks instead of frustration. When I am relationship with him instead of just occasional prayers when I need something done, my first response is to praise him in every situation.
This helps me to focus on the fact that when we prayed for the rain to hold off so the boys could play baseball, it did. We can call that a coincidence, we can say that weather forecasts are often incorrect anyway, we can call it luck, good fortune, or we can consider it an answered prayer from the hand of God in response to faithful prayer.
I choose to be thankful for it.
I choose to believe that God hears our prayers and gave us an answer to this one. Is that really so strange? Is our faith really that weak? I choose to acknowledge that God is good, and He is the giver of all good things.
So, I’m done with ‘chalking it up to coincidence’ when something good happens in life, and even in small things such as a baseball game. Instead, I will choose to give the glory to God for all things, and making my mornings thankful.