Slightly Obsessed #228: The God of the Grateful

I will remember the works of the LORD: yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will reflect on all You have done and ponder Your mighty deeds.

– Psalm 77:11-12 (Berean Study Bible)

The voice on the other end of the line sternly lectured me.

“Pam,” the doctor scolded, “You’re in denial. Accept the fact that you have MS.”

My mind raged in rebellion at his certainty that I had multiple sclerosis, but I sat numbly and listened as he detailed the next steps. We would have to make a trip to Seattle, a day’s drive away, to get the diagnosis confirmed. He would schedule the tests immediately.

I hung up the phone. My world had just fallen into a pit. We had a young daughter, four other children, and no insurance. I was so sick I didn’t even know if I could make the trip. Despair rolled over us in waves as we prepared for the long drive to the coast. The older children would care for the younger ones. My husband and I would go over alone.

As I often did in times of distress, I found myself searching through the Bible for comfort. As I read, I was moved by God’s command to Israel to build altars along their journey through the wilderness in remembrance of His deliverance. Now, on this dreary journey in the face of a daunting enemy, it occurred to me that we should embrace remembrance instead of giving into fear. My husband agreed, and as he drove, we spent the next hours recounting every act of deliverance and kindness God had bestowed upon us during our marriage.

The miles melted away as we took turns unearthing each precious memory and lovingly rebuilding the altars that had fallen through neglect. I was struck by how much beauty lay dormant in the dust of my ungrateful heart, just waiting to be revealed. God had been so good to us over the years. How much I had forgotten as I dwelt instead on my problems.

We arrived at our destination tired, still anxious, but renewed in hope. I spent a day undergoing tests, including an MRI. At the end of the day, the results were in.

I did not have MS. I had a bad infection that had gone untreated for months. The doctor immediately put me on antibiotics, and I was radically better even before we headed back home the next day.

Shortly after returning home, we received a letter telling us that the doctors had conferred and decided to write off the entire medical bill. Another deliverance. Another altar to the God who still performs miracles in the desert.

My health scare with MS happened many years ago. Recently, I have been reminded of that lesson as our family walks through the hottest wasteland we have ever encountered. As the dust swirls around us and we wither in the heat, we reset the memorial stones of the wonders of old. We thank our God for His everlasting kindness. We trust in His power. We believe in His goodness. We look to Him for new deliverance and restoration.

He loves His children through our highs and lows, in sickness and in health, whether we complain or give thanks.

He does rejoice, however, when we recognize His abundant provision for our lives. He is moved to action by our response to His care. He will always love us, but He is the God of the Grateful.

 

We should not test Christ, as some of them did, and were killed by snakes. And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel. Now these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come….

-1 Corinthians 10:10 (Berean Study Bible)

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