—by Brian Austin
We live in a world where “Why me?” is a continual cry. I’ve tried to train myself to turn that question around. “Why me?” for the measureless blessings I enjoy.
Why the privilege of being born into this country? Yes, I’m aware of weaknesses, of losses, of freedoms eroded, of foundations being chipped away. But still, I enjoy freedoms most of the world only dreams about.
Why the medical resources I have taken advantage of? In many countries of the world I would be blind today, without even knowing there was any possible alternative. In many countries of the world two grand-daughters, born premature, but so full of life today they exhaust us, would have died. Their mother, our daughter, would also likely have died.
Why the abundance of food? In many countries of the world, starvation would have stared us in the face more than once during the six plus decades I have lived. Yet I’ve never known a day of my life when cupboards and fridge and freezer did not hold several week’s worth of food. I’ve never known a day when I wondered how I could feed my children, or how my grandchildren might get their next meal.
Why the privilege of having all our daughters close? Why should I have the delight of seeing my grandchildren so often? Why do I get the joy of hugs from those of them now in their teens – when hugging Grandpa is no longer “Cool”?
Why are all three daughters close friends, different in personality and temperament, but delighting in each other’s company? So many families I see are torn by division and strife, hurt and bitterness. Our daughters don’t always agree with each other, but there is deep love and respect. What a joy, as a father, to witness. What a joy as a grandfather to witness the cousins delighting in each other’s company.
Why the joy of watching our grandchildren making personal and public commitments to walk with Jesus? “How deep the Father’s love for us, that we should be called the Children of God.” How rich the wonder of seeing our Grandchildren wrestling with the issues of life, and determining that God is worthy of their full trust! Is there any richer blessing for a Grandfather to delight in?
Is there any stopping place for these blessings? Ten years ago, I had accepted (intellectually if not emotionally) that I was going blind, but I can read today. I can drive. I can see my wife, our daughters, our grandchildren. I can delight in the wonder and the beauty of the tiny fish that fill so many aquariums in our home. I have the physical strength to tear around the gym with the senior youth of our church – and they actually welcome this old guy there.
I have a hope to look forward to. My Bible tells me that: (1 Corinthians 2:9 paraphrased) Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things God has prepared for those who love him. My imagination covers a lot of ground, but the Bible declares it’s going to be better than the best I can imagine.
Why do I still have the privilege of being actively involved in a local church, meeting without fear to worship and praise God, able to own multiple translations of the Bible, and not fear to be caught reading them? And though much of the media of our world is antagonistic to the things of God, and not quick to publish works that uphold Christian beliefs, there is yet the freedom to believe and to express my faith. Have I ever – can I ever – place a value on that particular freedom?
Why did I have the privilege of being born into a Christian home, with the Bible read daily around the supper table, family prayer times while I was still in the womb? No – my home was not perfect; my parents were not perfect; and unquestionably, I was not perfect – but who can put a price on knowing the Bible well before I was a teen? Who can put a price on sitting under Biblical teaching even before I learned to crawl? Who can put a price on a foundation of the things of God before I was out of diapers?
Why me? for the hurts of my world? Not an unreasonable question, and troubling if I focus there. But Why Me? for the measureless blessings I enjoy? Visiting there, even for brief moments, overwhelms me with thankfulness and praise. Will I ever learn to dwell there, not just visit occasionally?
It is the HMC Month of Thanks. What are you thankful for? Did reading Brian’s thoughts inspire you to share some of your own? If you’d like to publicly express your gratitude, email your Thankful Post to firstname.lastname@example.org