That’s an odd title, considering the fact that John Piper doesn’t know my mom.
But I know my mom, and as I was reading the third chapter of John Piper’s book When the Darkness Will Not Lift (a book that helps us understand dark times in life), I was reminded of what an amazing gift she is to me.
I’ll explain myself in a moment, but I first want to share the following excerpt from the chapter, which is a quote from Richard Baxter:
“Resolve to spend more of your time in thanksgiving and praising God. If you cannot do it with the joy that you should, yet do it as you can. You have not the power of your comforts: but have you no power of your tongues? Say not, that you are unfit for thanks and praises unless you have a praising heart and were the children of God: for every man, good and bad, is bound to praise God, and to be thankful for all that he hath received, and to do it as well as he can, rather than leave it undone…Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better. Thanksgiving stirreth up thankfulness in the heart” (46).
You see, earlier this year I had to face what I now call a “difficult transition.” (Although, as I was going through it, I would have rather called it something like, “the crappy part of 2012.”) From the very start of that season in my life, my mom reminded me to still give thanks to God, even if I didn’t feel like I had anything to be thankful for. She even told me to make a list of things I was grateful for, and she checked in with me later the same day to make sure I’d actually done it.
And, you know what? The “homework” she gave me that day was biblically accurate. Check out what 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) has to say about when to be thankful:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Rejoice when? ALWAYS.
Give thanks when? In ALL circumstances.
The way my mom loves me is beautiful, and I am so blessed to have her. She saw that I was struggling, and although she couldn’t fix my problems, she did everything she could to point me in the right direction. She gently and sweetly reminded me that I am blessed.
But I’m not just blessed because of all the things on that list (which were mostly earthly things: a family that loves me, a job, a car, etc). Most important, I am blessed because God allowed me to go through that difficult time, which has ultimately served this purpose: to draw me closer to Him.
And for that, I am thankful.
*New to my series on John Piper’s When the Darkness Will Not Lift? Links to previous posts on this topic are below: