Matt Coker | @MatthewSCoker
A few years ago, when we moved back to our hometown, we were moving into a new house that we were going to be renting. It was nice, but not awesome. It was run down, could've used some paint and a new carpet. The kitchen was straight of the 70's. We wound up loving it, despite it's flaws. In fact, it was a great blessing. We figured we'd probably end up in a bug-infesting dump-hole in the bad part of town to start off with.
But God blessed us with a wonderful place to live.
But the thing is, we were told the wrong address initially. When we were working out a viewing, I did a search of the address we were given and found a YouTube video that walked through it. This house was amazing. Not mansion fancy, but big with beautiful rooms, fire place, giant kitchen, and plenty of spare room. We got super psyched.
Then, we figured out that our house was actually the house next door. A lot smaller and a good deal more run down. No comparison.
I'll admit, I was disappointed. But then I remembered the places we've lived since we got married. Tiny apartments, with family, and even in a giant garage/barn for a few months (infested with cockroaches and crickets). And you know what, in each of those places, we were happy.
Yes, even in the bug-infested garage/barn, we were happy.
God calls us to be thankful in all situations, even ones that look bleak, scary, or hard-to-face. Despite anything that could be going wrong in your relationships, at your job, in your home, at school, etc., God is using this time to grow you into a better person.
But what about when we get hurt? Or what about when we screw our own lives up?
God wants you to be thankful for that too! Even though he doesn’t desire for you to be in pain, when our lives are turned over to him, God never wastes a hurt. He uses everything for good, to build you up into a better and stronger person.
There were times in my life when everything was crashing down. My wife and I had only been married for a year before my addictions nearly ruined everything. Most couples would've rather divorced than to go through the garbage we had to go through. But even in the most painful days, I still did my best to be thankful, to realize that God was doing something, even if I couldn't see it yet.
And comparing my messed up life to someone in the house next door never made me feel any better.
So, wherever you are in your life today, be thankful, if for no other reason than you are still breathing, and God will bless you for it.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 106:1)
Matt Coker is the Ministry Director of The Back Row. He is married to a beautiful woman he met when they were both in youth group and they have one mischievous son together. Matt collects Funko Pop figures, loves time travel movies, and enjoys exotic jerky meats. You can contact Matt via the contact page or on Twitter at @MatthewSCoker.