Looking for the Invitation

Devote yourselves to prayer being watchful and thankful
 Colossians 4:2

When my husband Terry (you know, the tall, smiley guy!) was diagnosed with a brain tumor - and  in a hospital for the next 5 months - people would sometimes say to me "what do you think God is trying to teach you?"

That question set my teeth on edge. (yes, I know it was well meant!). For one thing, God doesn't "try"!  And It made it sound like God was up there thinking "What can I do to teach Carolyn and Terry this lesson? I know … a brain tumor!"

I think about unexpected circumstances this way: God is always at work. He is always breaking into this dark, broken, messed up world to bring light, redemption, and love. While I may not understand how God is doing that in the present circumstance, I know that He is.

So I am learning to ask instead, "what is God's invitation to me in this moment?" I want to be looking for how God is breaking in and showing up. I want to be alert, to pay attention, to receive what He is giving and say yes to what he is doing.

There are habits of life that help us to pay attention. Here is one - make a list of 10 things for which you can give thanks.  Take a break … then list 10 more… and then 10 more. The first list is easy … the next a little harder … the third means that you have to look!

There is a big difference between thinking:  "I should be thankful" … and actually giving thanks. In the process you notice what God has done and is doing now. And as you do - you become thankful.
It may seem obvious and simplistic - but try it!  A practice of consciously giving thanks actually changes the brain! (Researchers have shown that the changes can be seen on brain scans after about 6 weeks of this practice.)

In every circumstance, even in the painful and unexpected ones,God is at work. Will we resent the intrusion, or will we view it as an invitation to go deeper with God then we've ever gone before?

Carolyn Culbertson

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