Are You Thankful?

Many things can go wrong in life in the Western world.  A lot of us have houses and cars to take care of, many of us have children or other family members to look after, we have to get through our days at work, and deal with all the problems that crop up.  What if the alarm clock doesn’t go off?  What if the car breaks down?  What if that customer shouts at us?  What if the kids misbehave?

There are many constant decisions to be made, what to have for dinner, what to wear, when to get all the housework and washing done, how much time to give to work, church, family and friends.  We have many constant demands on our time, and these can lead to genuine stress and anxiety.

I seem to be writing a lot about the “Big Picture” at the moment, and today I had that reinforced again.  Without belittling the stresses of life in Western society, because they are very real, it is also true that there are very few of us who are without food or clean water, sanitation, electricity, education and access to health care.  The things that really matter, the things that we need for survival are there.

Today I heard a presentation at church about the country of Sierra Leone.  A gentleman involved in charity work in this small West African country which is recovering from the aftermath of a devastating civil war, described some of the conditions that exist in that country and how the charity work he does has made some improvements to the lives of people in that country.

Some of the facts he told us were quite shocking.  The average life expectancy of a person in Sierra Leone is around the age of 50. It has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, and is the eighth poorest country in the world.  There is no electricity in the country following the destruction of the power stations in the civil war.  There is little sanitation.  Cholera is rife due to lack of drinkable water.  Malaria is a huge killer.  90% of adults are illiterate.

Suddenly I am very thankful that the choice I am making is whether to have beef or chicken for dinner, not the choice of rice if I’m lucky or nothing if I’m not.  I am thankful for my toilet, my hot water, and my electricity.

It’s easy to take these things for granted because we are so used to them, but we must remember that many people in the world do not have these blessings.  We should remember to thank God for our blessings, and ask Him to help those in need.

People may say that the suffering of people such as those in Sierra Leone shows that there is no God – but until the civil war, which was a result of  man’s greed and desire for wealth and power, this country was relatively peaceful and prosperous.  Man’s free will was used for evil, and many have suffered because of it.

So why isn’t God doing anything about it?  He will – all in his own good time.  Let us pray for His kingdom to come soon and put an end to suffering and bring about peace on earth.

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.  It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” – Isaiah 25:8-9

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