Saturday, August 13, 2005

Practical Advantages of Belief in God - Part 5, 6, and 7

When we are children, and grandma gives us a present, we know exactly who to thank. She might get a big hug and kiss. She might even get a “Thank You, Grandma. I love you.” To a certain extent that kind of thing applies to our parents, too. We know that they are in control of our environment, what we get or don’t get, and they can make or break our day. As a result we find ourselves asking for things from them. Some kids are more bold about asking. Some or more shy. But they all ask.

The smart ones show their gratitude when they get what they ask for and when they get surprises or presents. This process of asking, receiving an answer, and offering gratitude is a very important part of how we interact for the rest of our lives. Not only will it effect the way that others deal with us, but it will to the extent that we are grateful for the things we receive from others, it will improve our peace of mind. We will be emotionally better off.

5. Boldness in asking for the things we need that are beyond human resources to provide.
6. Emotional health benefits of being grateful for everything we have and are.
7. Emotional health benefits of understanding that we don’t always get what we want in the way we want it.

Last Fall my Wife’s Mom was very sick with cancer. Everyone concerned did all that was humanly possible to slow down or stop the cancer. Each new remedy or lifestyle decision was met with hope of achieving the goal. There was comfort in knowing that professionals were using their talents and skills to help us reach the goal.

However, there was far more comfort and hope for all of us in going to God and imploring Him to provide a cure through medicine or through a miracle, if it would be His will. She prayed that. Her friends and family prayed for that. Even some of the healthcare professionals prayed on her behalf.

In addition to the calm that we enjoyed knowing that God was hearing our prayers, but there was also the joy in being able to “do something,” not merely stand around helpless. Sure, we could visit her, bring things to her, provide services over and above what the professionals offered. But without God in the equation, there would be nothing we could do to provide help towards an improvement in her health or an outright cure.

Once we had prayed, there were answers to those prayers. Sometimes there was progress. Sometimes the progress seemed miraculous. Sometimes the answer to prayer was just seeing how calm she was knowing that she would be cured “one way or the other.” Sometimes there were setbacks which required us to pray for our own renewal of hope in the face of hard realities. For all of these we gave thanks. We were truly grateful for every aspect of this time. Partially because we could trust God’s promise that everything has a purpose which will benefit the believer.

The process of giving thanks to our Lord is emotionally beneficial in itself. It helps to balance other emotions like anger, hurt, resentment, or anxiety which have all been shown to be unhealthy. The very lesson that these experiences teach mature us to deal in an adult way with disappointment.

Thanks for getting this far. Parts 8 and 9 follow here

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