Wednesday, June 23, 2010

wow

I read this a few weeks ago, but just can't get it out of my head. So here's another long read, but I promise it's a good one :) On the top of the page in my book, all I could write was WOW.  It was so convicting, encouraging and challenging. Wow, may I be a woman who has this kind of gratitude always. This kind of faith always. And this clear and right perspective, always...At all times and in all circumstances. Here's what Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes in her must read book Choosing Gratitude:

....."Dad Johnson" was a dear friend of mine, now home with the Lord. Though a successful business man, life had not always been easy for him. His mother died before he turned two. When he was in his mid-twenties, he lost his father. But Dad Johnson was the kind of person who, when I called him on his eighty-ninth birthday, said to me, "When I'm gone, If I'm remembered for anything, I want it to be that I was a grateful man." Was he ever!

Yet that grateful lifestyle was forged in the fires of affliction. And that fire was never more intense than when he and his wife faced the loss of their daughter Karen at the age of seventeen, less than two weeks before her high school graduation, in a fatal car accident.

Years later when I was a seventeen-year-old college student living in Ed and Joyce Johnson's home in southern California, I remember hearing Dad J recount a scene that occurred in the initial moments after he learned about Karen's death. None but those who have experienced such a sudden loss can truly begin to understand the depths of grief that must swell over you, the blur of thoughts, regrets, and reactions that press hard on every artery. I can't imagine.

But it doesn't take firsthand experience of tragedy to hear what happened next and be moved by the resilient power of faith grounded in God's sovereignty and goodness. The Johnson family was spending the weekend at a vacation cottage in the southern California dessert. Mr. Johnson saw a friend accompanied by two other men, approaching the cottage and went outside to find out what they wanted. They broke the news to him that Karen's car had been hit by a drunk driver and she had not survived the accident, 

The men went with Mr. Johnson into the house where he gathered his wife and four younger children together in the living room. He began saying" Before we ask God why he took Karen home in a head-on collision a few hours ago, let's thank Him for the seventeen years we had her." Astonishing. But true.

There's nothing wrong with being totally honest with God, coming before Him with our hurts and pains and intercessions, imploring Him to help and heal.

But prayer is more than asking. It is a vehicle of worship and gratitude.....

 Psalm 28:7 says" The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him"

.... Wow. What a challenge to my soul. To know God's good and gracious character well enough to have an automatic response of gratitude. First, not weeks or months or years later, but immediately thankful. Wow. 


5 comments:

L a u r a said...

Beautiful. This is a timely read for me given this particular tough week--2 funerals (an infant, and a young father), and an additional near-tragic and still-shaky event in another close friend's family.

Thank you.

Chad said...

I am thankful for this post. You help me in so many ways, now even here. I am thankful to be your husband and to know that even though you are not perfect, you have been in similar places and have responded with just as godly a response. You inspire me as you continue to learn and grow.

Lori's Recipe Blog said...

I was so encouraged as I read this today! Thank you for the challenge to live a grateful life!

Eric and Melissa said...

Thank you for this post Carly. This has been a particularly tough week for me and I am reminded to be grateful in all times for all things. The Lord has ordained each moment for his GOOD. Thank you Chad for the encouragement to your wife. It is always a privilege to witness a beautiful marriage :)

Carly Jean Brannon said...

Thank you all for the encouragement back. I'm so glad it was helpful. much love, cj