The year 2009 and the beginning of 2010 has been a challenging one for my family and I. On top of that, the crisis in Haiti finds us lamenting and casting our hearts to a people that are brown like us as we find contributive ways to help their cause. I endeavor to do my part and I’m sure too, that there are many of you who may feel the same. Albeit, your problems and issues may be different than that of the next person, but I’m sure you’ve felt the angst of issues that tend to burdened you. Rare to find are those who have not been affected in some direct way by the recession-like maladies that has plagued our country. America's economic problems didn't just start this year or last, but they certainly worsened -- decreases in healthcare benefits, the decline of the banking and monetary system, mounting job losses, shifting gas prices, record company closures, increased theft amid rampant fraud reports...all of it is largely due to the economy, and all of it has touched each of us in one way or the other. Have you done anyone a wrong...have you regretted a situation that perhaps you could have changed or could have done better? We all fall short of Agape love and God's mandate of loving unconditionally. The gist of this essay shed's light on a personal note to far exceed and prevail in spite of human frailty and unrequited attempts to do the right thing. Giving thanks for a new lease on life in spite of anything else came easy. I've had a little talk with God and He finally got my attention, as I hope to get yours!
In times like these, when we cannot necessarily cite a long list of materialistic things for which to be grateful, we sometimes find ourselves waddling in self-pity. Then instead of counting the blessings that we do have, we gripe about those things that we don't have. But as I’m recuperating from a slight stroke suffered just before Thanksgiving of last year, I can’t help but give thanks to the many people who have rallied behind me, and whom are continuing to pray on my behalf. As I’ve mentioned, this year has been trying and the challenges have been great. But the same God that had been good in the time of plenty has remained good in the lean time. Yes, there were days when Satan reared his ugly head and showed us how malevolent he is in church and away from it, where finances fell short and days when there was more month than money. But as we begin this New Year my resolutions will be no wise lesser than they have ever been as it pertain to sustained spirituality and evangelical efforts to do God’s work. Thus, I’ve been determined to be thankful in spite of. I will not grouse over the friends I may have lost; will not lose sleep on any love that did not linger in my midst (real or imagined); will not despair and delude myself thinking that true love is not fleeting; and certainly will not concede to those that profess to be something that they are not to me in lieu of allowing trust to manifest better bonding and building beautiful relationships. You see, I've experienced problems with all of the above -- in spite of!
All that I want may not be visible before my eyes, but I have been provided with all that I need. No, my bank account does not qualify me to rank among the wealthiest authors in the industry, but as Proverbs 10:22 says, "The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it." Therefore I am richer than so many whose bank accounts are running over. The things I thought I didn't have they found itself prominently within the depths of my being. I have an abundance of faith - For what does it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (Mark 8:28)? Those things that money cannot buy are perhaps the things for which we should be most grateful. They are certainly the things that I am most thankful for this past year. False attempts to foster intimacy under the guise of companionship went all for naught. The prayerful conversations I had with true friends that called and came by to visit me are forever etched in my soul to keep. Some disappeared and others just didn't bother to communicate. Some wanted to provide sympathy, but I generously let them know that I didn't need sympathy, and that I had enough hope to spare. Before I could tell them other issues of my malady they continued to tell me how concerned they were. "It could have been worse," I would say, and went on to give God thanks and praise for what was versus what could have been. We built faith together and give thanks in spite of!
When we learn to thank God in spite of, I believe that it is then that we are blessed to see the overflow that He has stored up for us. If we can't be grateful for what we have, how can God trust us with the abundance that He has on standby? So for the remaining time I have left, I will continue to give God the praise; not only for what I have today, but for those things that I know that He will bless me with on tomorrow...and the next day...and the next day. What things are YOU thankful for? How will you make this year better than last year? In everything give thanks, and exact some modicum of change in your life: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (I Thessalonians 5:18). We all are blessed and should give thanks for a plethora of reasons, notwithstanding the chance that you are HERE! The American dream is alive today because God gave us reasons to give thanks the right way. Giving thanks appropriately should be in order, even when we stray. We are still the Pilgrims of modern times searching for faith, forgiveness and favor. We follow and nurture what we believe, and in the interim we pray for that fence around us is God's protective wrap. We work hard. We strive to make our election and calling sure. We suffer together and should be sticking together.
In closing, I endeavor to not hold grudges, will forgive and forget and know that redemptive value is based on turning the other cheek. Moreover, I thank all of you who have prayed for me individually and collectively, including those that have gone beyond measure to let me know how much you care. And if you're reading this and understand where I'm really coming from you'd know that spiritual authority is yours (and mine) as we continue to keep God first. I'm grateful and humble presently, and even while flat on my back. I was given an Epiphany to work just as hard as I've done before to uphold all that people have known me to be. Know that God's anointing Grace is the victory I claim extolling that eagle that soars so high in Isaiah 40:29-13 with unlimited potential. Thanks from the bottom of my heart to all of you for your support! This year indeed will be ours for all prosperity and the propensity to prevail -- just keep the faith, give thanks, and reach out to touch someone -- in spite of!