For years, long after I’d grown too old to play with it, my toy box contained a yellow, plastic fighter-plane with a red star on each wing tip. The airplane was given to me by Grandma Dahlke (my maternal grandmother) when I was 4 or 5 years old. Not too long after receiving the airplane, my grandmother died of an abdominal aneurysm while visiting my mom and dad in Evergreen Park. Even based on 1950’s dollars, the plane wasn’t worth very much and had no chance of attaining collectible status, but it grew to symbolize a grandmother’s love that my young heart dearly missed.
The faith of children is open, receptive, trusting and unpretentious. Jesus blessed the little children who were brought to Him and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:13).”
When adversity blindsides us, we find ourselves in a desert, Land Between transitional period. We sense a loss of control, purpose and joy. Yet as we daily receive God’s grace and come to realize that He is there for us in and through our suffering, we are transformed and restored. The “white noise” of anger, frustration and worry no longer masks God’spresence. We perceive His still, small voice. We understand, as Pastor Tullian Tchividjian (Glorious Ruin) titled one of his books, that Jesus + Nothing = Everything. We learn to focus on the simple gifts God blesses us with on a daily basis.
Verse 2 of “Forgive Us, Lord, for Shallow Thankfulness” (LSB 788) beautifully underscores our thankfulness for those simple gifts of God:
“Teach us to thank You, Lord, for love and grace,
For life and vision, for a purpose clear,
For Christ, Your Son, and for each human face
That shows Your message ever new and clear.”