In our early years of marriage, my wife, Michelle, and I were used to moving around. We moved so often that two years in one particular place was a long-term location commitment for us. That was, of course, until our children reached school age. Then everything changed.
Now, after sixteen years in one house, the kids have all moved away and our home feels empty. Recognizing the need to live closer to family, Michelle and I agreed that it was time to move.
As we put the house on the market and started showing it, this Southern boy quickly realized something: Midwesterners really like their basements. Attempting to sell a house without one (in a depressed economy, no less) was going to be more difficult than I had hoped. After what I perceived to be an extended period on the market without much success, I began to look at our house as burden, a problem, an albatross around our necks, something that was holding us back from the good things that were to come next – a curse.
One day while praying, I felt the nudge/rebuke of the Holy Spirit. The Lord was reminding me that he had given us our home as a blessing to our family. I began to reflect on the years we’d spent in our basement-less home…raising our children, sharing meals with friends, waking and sleeping in safety. All of a sudden I was ashamed that I could have counted such an incredible blessing in my life as a curse.
That day my attitude changed. While the circumstances surrounding the sale of our home remained the same, I now looked at whatever came next as God’s provision, and in His hands.
“LOOK, TODAY I AM GIVING YOU
the choice between a blessing and a curse!”
Deuteronomy 11:26 (NLT)
As I travel throughout Africa, I continue to be amazed that amidst the great poverty I see everywhere, I always also find great joy. Despite having unclean water to drink, inadequate medical care, or a job to provide for one’s family, many of the world’s poor still consider themselves blessed.
We in the West have our own challenges. It might be as simple as selling a house or as difficult as a life-threatening illness. Regardless, we have a choice to make. Are we going to give thanks and acknowledge the many good gifts God has given us, or are we going to complain and withhold gratitude? Are we blessed, or are we cursed?
If you are able to recognize the abundance of blessing in your life this Thanksgiving season, even in the midst of difficult circumstances, then may I also challenge you to be a blessing to others?
Here at IAS, we are so very grateful for your partnership. Because of your generosity, together we are able to be stewards of God’s goodness in the lives of the world’s least fortunate.
President, IAS America