It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving and everything was going well with my class of 4th and 5th graders. They were beginning to understand the importance of the resurrection and how vital it was to the Gospel. A man (the God-Man) died on the cross and within three days He was walking around, talking to everyone, even to the skeptics (sorry Thomas!)
“I AM THANKFUL I NO LONGER HAVE CANCER”
It was at that point that I decided to give everyone a chance to say what they were thankful for., To avoid repetition and to get the class thinking a little deeper, I instituted a rule: Nobody could repeat what someone else said! Uh oh! They were a little nervous, but it worked. We went around the room, and everyone said something. (Some variations on the family theme were still repeated, but that’s okay!) About halfway through we came to a young girl and what she was thankful for caught me completely off guard. She quietly spoke words that I wasn’t ready to hear: “I am thankful that I no longer have cancer.”
SOMETIMES OUR DREAMS TAKE US FAR, FAR WAY!
Every child who shared what they were thankful for was sincere in what they said, but to hear those words out of the mouth of a 5th grader made me think of Isaiah 55:8: For my thoughts, are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways, declares the Lord. No kidding! We dream, we think, and we pray. However, in the end, if we truly want to obey Jesus Christ, we will follow His lead. Sometimes it takes us just where we want to go. Other times, it takes us far, far, away!
BUT GOD THOUGHT DIFFERENTLY
For example, I didn’t always want to be a preacher. During my High School year, I had a love for drawing. I was always sketching something, whether I was supposed to or not. (We’ll save that for another ReCharge!) My plan was to become a graphic artist and I would attend Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. A lot had transpired that senior year. I was leading a local boys club, I was teaching Bible Studies, and I got to speak at my church. It was there that a gentleman, who I had a great deal of respect for, came up to me and said “Bill, you’re going to become a preacher.” I thought to myself, “No I’m not, I am going to become a graphic artist.” But God thought differently. And so, I began to pursue the pastorate.
Why does God allow some things to happen to us that are so good and encouraging to our souls and at other times it seems like He leaves us seemingly alone; unable to defend ourselves? To answer that question, I would need a few more ReCharges or you could go Pastor Addison’s Thanksgiving sermon, where he did a great job in explaining this whole dilemma. The answer to the question is very simple: “We don’t know.” What we do know is this: We need to trust God no matter what. We need to trust Him when we see the answer and when we don’t. We need to trust him when we survive cancer, as well as when we have just been diagnosed with it. Romans 8:28 is used often but rarely believed. And we know that all things work for the good to those who love God. Remember, you can trust what the Bible says, you can trust what the Spirit says, and finally, you can trust the God who loved you so much, He was willing to die for you! It took a 5th-grader’s simple thanks to remind me of that.