Shonebarger

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie

Welcome to 2021! The New Year is rolling forward, full throttle. You have the opportunity to cast a fresh vision and dream big dreams. Focusing on our life’s purpose motivates us to grow and change, to become all that we were created by God to be. To reach the zenith of our potential should be the New Year’s resolution for each of us.

What an exciting chance we have to begin with a blank sheet of paper where we can dream, plan and implement our goals. Innumerable opportunities are before you! With God’s help, now is the time to fulfill your greatest aspirations. Godspeed on your journey!

Beware however, for there will be obstacles to your goals.

Life often throws unexpected surprises that may shipwreck our charted course. If tragedy on our journey occurs, we are forced to deal with the full impact of the incident to the best of our ability. Faithful friends, coupled with medical and spiritual professionals, afford helps in our time of trouble. We must face recovery and restart. Let us always acknowledge it is not the end of the story.

We know of many individuals who became paralyzed in their mountain of problems. Amidst the chaos of our caustic circumstances, there is a choice that can be made that will carry us through. A choice to make us better, rather than bitter. The choice is to be grateful. God is good, all the time! This is more than a slick bumper-sticker slogan; this is absolute truth.

An “attitude of gratitude” is not the typical reaction of people experiencing tragedy. Moreover, it may appear to be a paradox to choose gratitude amidst tragedy. However, there is strength found in gratitude. Take comfort, there is light at the end of the darkness. Our spirit, filled with gratitude, considers the blessings in life and humbly acknowledges each one.

The dark days of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression will ultimately lead to the time of acceptance and healing. Through every step of the journey, gratitude is available to calm our spirit and anchor our soul. Our Heavenly Father cares about us and will sustain us by His mercy through the times of trouble. God is a loving Heavenly Father who comforts, sustains and carries us through the storm. God is there, He is with you, and He is our all-sufficient Lord.

The best-known Bible character for dealing with tragedy is Job. Even though Job lost family and possessions, his reaction was to worship God and declare His goodness. Job declared, “…Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21).

The ultimate purposes of God are unexplainable, incomprehensible and thoroughly mysterious. It is impossible on this side of Glory to begin to rationalize the “whys” of life’s tragic events. However, we can be comforted in knowing that God is love; God is gracious; God is just and God is holy.

It is impossible for God to act in any manner contrary to His nature. God acts according to His Divine purposes, decreed from the foundation of the world. Simply put, God loves you and He has a perfect purpose, plan and time for each of us. We must be grateful for His sovereignty in our lives and never forget His heart when we are struggling in turmoil. If we cannot understand the hand of God, we can always trust His heart!

We pray each of you have a blessed and prosperous New Year. When the storms come, look to God. Regardless of the affairs of life, be grateful. In good times or bad, be grateful. Gratitude guarantees our success in 2021. Have a great week and remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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