Fast forward to 2 nights later, the news channel finally shows 1 man who is holding his Canadian passport high. "Oh man, another complainer", I thought. But I was brought up short when I started to listen to this man. He wasn't complaining but thankful and grateful. Holding that passport up, he was thanking the government for getting him out, for responding quickly. Yes he admitted, the conditions were not easy on the boat, but he was not expecting a cruise ship, he realized it was an emergency evacuation and knew everything that could be done was being done on very short notice. Then he continued being thankful and grateful.
This made me wonder about the two very different perspectives. What made one person so ungrateful and complaining and one so gratefull he was shouting out his thanks for anyone who had anything to do with getting him into a safe place, to anyone who would listen? What had happened in their pasts that gave them their very differing viewpoints of what had been done for them? Why did the woman not wait a few days until something better came along and give up her spot to someone else? What exactly were each of their expectations for an emergency evacuation?
I have to say I very much had negative feelings towards the complainers. Did they not realize it was worse where they were being rescued from? Did they think that luxury liners would immediately be on the shores to come get them? Did they not think that whatever was available and offered in the area was being used and they probably were not prepared for the influx of people upon their vessels? I wondered if maybe the complainers had never lived through anything like that before while the thankful man had suffered through being in a country that was about to be engaged in war and knew what he had been saved from.
Then it hit me. Is this sometimes how I sound to God when I'm whining and complaining when things are not the way I figure they oughta be? Do I stamp my feet in a temper tantrum because some thing was not handed to me that I figure I should be entitled to as a Christian? Do I pout and find any listening ear that I can to pour out my anger and entitlement speech to? Does He look at me and say, "Do you not realize what you've been saved from?" With a heavy sigh and deep regret in all honesty I can admit that I have acted this way before my God. Memories of times that I have done this very thing came to me turning my face red.
Right then, I realized how important that a thankful perspective is to my walk as a Christian! If I stop to think of everything Jesus has done and saved me from in this world and in eternity, thankfullness should be making it's way upwards from my heart and out of my mouth. Even as the man admitted the circumstances were hard he had that extra word in there: "but". But the Canadian government got me out. And as our good friend preached at church on Sunday on looking with the eyes of faith and trust, I too, can look at circumstances and say they are hard, "but" the Lord my God delivered me, "but" the Lord my God never left me, "but" the Lord sent someone to help me, "but" the Lord taught me..., etc. ,etc.
If I can look at things through the eyes of thankfullness, it changes my whole perspective on the situation. "Oh Lord, forgive me for those times, I have been the ungrateful, unthankful child. Help me to have a thankful heart that overflows into grateful praise to what you have taken me from and thankful words for what you have prepared for me in heaven. Give me revelation on what you have done for me. Thank you Lord for the blessings you give me each day."
"I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wonderful deeds!" Psalm 9:1 Amplified