We’re on day eight of 30 Days of Thankful. I believe my friend Bethany Kortekaas will inspire you to remain thankful–even when you are still waiting for your dream to come true.
GUEST POST: By Bethany Kortekaas
“I’m sorry to give you bad news, but you’re not pregnant.” As I hung up after talking to the nurse, I was shocked. Adam and I had people all over the world praying for these snowflake babies that we had adopted and implanted in me. I was ready for my “happily ever after.”
What broke my heart even more was that if God had allowed these babies to be born, it would have strengthened the faith of so many friends and family who struggle to see God in their daily life. I even had an agonistic neighbor who admitted he had prayed for us. Everything about this birth would have been a perfect combination of drawing people’s attention to the great need in embryo adoption and to the beauty of God’s timing. It made no sense for God not to answer this prayer, which would have brought Him so much glory! Confused and so disappointed, I felt I had gotten people’s hopes up and not delivered…literally.
This is America, where everything works out right in the end. We love the Cinderella stories, the underdogs that win, and seeing the impossible happen. So wrapped up in having our hearts warmed, we forget that this is not the only way that God works. Even as Christians we expect that God will participate with our rules—if we trust and obey, then everything will be ok. We foster this feeling that the only way to see God’s glory is when hope is fulfilled tangibly. We only tell the story of the single person walking in purity once they find a spouse. The prodigal child that came home. Cancer that was cured. These stories are ones we tout as showing God’s faithfulness; as being worthy of praise and thankfulness. Until we see tangible results, what is the point in telling the story? Of thanking Him during the pain? Why praise over prayers unanswered?
Because our story is not over yet and God sees how His story is better. Do I trust Him? Can I thank Him knowing He knows more than me? Can I praise Him for the end of the story even if I never get to see it? I have spent countless hours encouraging 6th through 12th grade students that God’s way is the best way. But just like them, I am addicted to instant gratification. So what happens when God does not answer our prayers? What happens when we have trusted and been patient for nothing? Can we be thankful? How do we rejoice?
Sometimes we are left without answers. But Jesus was the master of answering questions with more questions. He wants us to wrestle and struggle with the hard things because that develops a depth of character and relationship that cannot be gifted to us. Psalm 42:5 asks, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!” Taking the action of putting my hope in God even when it hurts, takes work. This constant practice of turning to Him with praise and a thankful heart in the pain becomes a habit that gives us an eternal perspective and hope in God rather than in what today looks like.
Today looks like pain. But God sees my sorrow. In fact, in Psalm 56:8, it says He has collected my tears in a bottle. So I choose to trust the God who turns water to wine. I choose to see the beauty of my current story. I choose to be thankful.