Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thankfulness: From Hand to Heart Day 22

"So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me." John 11:41 NIV
      This verse is buried in the middle of one of the best pictures (in my opinion) of Christ's full humanity. Jesus' friend, Lazarus, has died. Verse 35 of this chapter is the famous "Jesus wept." and verse 38 tells us He is "deeply moved". He is about to bring the dead back to life, but He still allowed Himself time to experience what I am certain was a myriad of emotions. This verse and the next directly proceed Jesus calling His friend forth, and they are best read together:

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." John 11:41-42 NIV
   Jesus is sad, He is in the last weeks leading up to His own death. He is dealing with the confused disciples, He is comforting Lazarus' sister. He is in the thick of a very difficult, trying time. He *knows* how everything will end, but that doesn't make it any less painful in the meantime. Yet, He stops to thank His Father for hearing Him.

   I don't know about you, but when I am in the midst of hard times, I am usually begging God to get me out of it, or through it, or around it. I am not really feeling grateful. I am not usually thinking about just thanking God for listening. But Jesus did. He stopped, at the time when everyone had their eyes on Him, holding their breath, and He offered His praise to God, just for being heard.

    You may think that was easy, because He was perfect. But He was also completely human, and He felt all the things we do. It wasn't easy-it was a conscious choice to express thanks. This type of things wasn't anymore automatic for Him than for you and me. He always made the right choice, but He still had to make a choice. And He chose to give thanks, even in the hard times.

Today's Reflection:
   If you are in the midst of a difficult time right now, make the choice to give thanks-just for being heard. We "know" the Lord hears our prayers, but do we truly know?  And if you are on a mountaintop right now, you can still give thanks to the Lord for listening. It isn't less important in the good times. And pray that you will be able to offer praise the next time you are in a valley, simply because He is listening.

Looking for the printable scripture writing plan? Or another day of the "Thankfulness: From Hand to Heart" study? Find them here!

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