“It may be me one day, but right now it is not;
I have to keep my focus on what I have got.”
I cannot remember what prompted that little message of encouragement. It could have been anything. Perhaps, I read a devotional on thankfulness. Maybe I saw an article about a wedding. It is possible that I saw someone who is very wealthy on television. There is no telling what my eyes or ears witnessed that caused me to stop immediately and affirm my gratitude and contentment with my life. And, the other day when I read it, I thought, “Thank God for what I don’t have, too.”
Do you ever think about all of the things that you don’t have? I am not speaking of the wants and desires that you wish you had; I am talking about all of the things that you don’t want and you don’t have. Or, how about all of the things that you should have, but you don’t have? We may never know the depths or breadth or lengths of God’s love and mercy. But, as we look around the world at the tragedies that are suffered, it ought to cause us to throw our hands up in praise if we are not afflicted with that type of calamity. When we look over our past mistakes, and we realize that we have escaped some of the worst possible scenarios for our lives with consequences that are not nearly as awful as they could be, we ought to fall to our knees and thank God for His mercy.
These mirrors of mercy can appear on any level of our lives. On a spiritual level, children of God can be thankful that we do not have to go through someone else to get to God. We can come boldly before His throne of grace asking anything we need in Jesus’ name because Jesus took our place on the cross (Hebrews 4:16; John 14:13). We should be thankful that we do not have nail-scarred hands and feet or a pierced side, which is the least that we deserve for our sins. On an emotional level, we can praise Him when we do not have any more tears to cry over someone who has caused us pain, whether it is a spouse, a loved one, a family member, a co-worker, or a friend. It is such a blessing when we get to the day when we do not have any more emotion to give to that situation and we can finally move on with our lives. On a romantic level, thank God for that person that He did not allow you to be with or to stay with who would have done more damage to your life than good.
On a physical level, we should appreciate that we do not have all of the ailments that we could have. Some sickness happens because we live in corruptible bodies. Some sickness happens because we have bad habits or do not properly value our health. In either case, even when we are infirmed with something, we can be grateful that we do not have other conditions and diseases in addition to that one. On a financial level, we ought to be grateful that we do not have to depend on man as our source. Once again, this is not an encouragement to quit your job, but just recognize that no matter what man does, if you belong to God, He has your back--and front and sides. (2 Thessalonians 3:10; Psalm 27:1). Just think about all the debt you could have that you do not have. Whether you are in good standing because you used Godly wisdom in economic evaluations or because God has spared you from the most severe outcomes associated with your financial foolishness, you should shout, “Hallelujah”(especially in this economy).
I believe that there are many times when we are trying our best to be content with what we do have that we can identify the gifts of grace, but we also should be thanking God for His mercy; for the circumstances with which we do not have to grapple. What makes it difficult to recognize these blessings is that we truly do not know all of the situations from which God has protected us, which is a blessing in and of itself. Nevertheless, the next time you find yourself feeling pitiful because of what you do not have, turn the pity party inpraise party for what you do not have by the mercy of God. Remember, (and I cannot think of the exact quote or who said it) it is better to be able to desire what you do not have than to have what you do not desire. Ms. EV