Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I have had two things happen to me recently that have helped me to be more thankful. A few weeks back I took another trip to Guatemala and as usual my eyes were opened to the burden and blessing of poverty. It's a burden for sure and you can see that as you visit people. Like when we sat with this beautiful family and heard the struggle of a mother trying to take care of her son who had a cyst on his brain. They sold everything they had of value, including their beds, to get tests done and buy medication. She had nothing and could do nothing. Her desperation was tangible.

And the blessing? The blessing was seen in the beauty of simplicity. We met families who lived in shacks and had very little, yet possessed a joy that escapes many of us who live in the land of plenty.

Then I had surgery this past week. Nothing too major, but not fun either. Sometimes it isn't until you are on your back for a while that you begin to realize how much you take for granted. Just being in bed for a few days helped me to see how blessed I am to be able to run and play with my kids. My wife was great and took good care of me, but by the third day I was feeling like a burden. You know, there are things you want to do and should be able to do for yourself, but you can't. So you have to rely on others for all of those things.

I thought of Cesar, a man we met in Guatemala who can't get out of bed because he has a rare disease that is causing his spine to fuse together. He has a wife and 3 beautiful kids. I thought for a moment what it would be like to be in his situation. In thinking about that, I was convicted of the fact that I am not as thankful as I need to be for the many blessings that I have. Not only am I pretty healthy (aside from the 10lbs or so that I could afford to lose), but I also live in extreme wealth when compared to the rest of the world. I have so much, yet say "thank you so little". And Cesar, who has very little and cannot even get out of bed on his own, is full of thanksgiving! I sat in his house for 3 hours listening to him tell of the goodness of God, expressing thanks to Him over and over again. Shouldn't he be the guy who is struggling with bitterness and anger?

Life is way too short to sweat the small stuff and God is way too good to allow the things of this world to pull me away from Him. This is all passing away. True joy is found in living for something beyond what this world has to offer. So I am going to make a more concerted effort to be thankful. I have been reminded of how blessed I am, so I will try to say "thank you" more.

Thank you to the many beautiful people that God has put in my life. You encourage me more than you will ever know.

Much love on the journey,

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18