It’s not so hard to be thankful

“giving thanks always for all things”

Ephesians 5:20



This week was our last week of Bible study. We’re done for the summer now, having completed a study of Paul’s letter to the Romans. Next up: Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. We don’t always go in order, though; that’s just a coincidence.


The last class day is always a special one, celebrating what we’ve learned over the year, and new friendships that have been made (or old ones that have been renewed). Women are saying good bye for the summer, or making plans to get coffee together sometime soon, if they can’t wait that long.


The fun thing for me this year was that because I had been a children’s teacher, I got some very sweet thank you cards from a few of the children in my class.   One of them was particularly thought-provoking however.


First I opened this one:

Photo 74


This is the back of it.

Photo 75


No name, though, so I’m not sure who this is from. It was just sitting on my chair. But cute, right?


Then there’s this one:

Photo 80


Can you read that? “I love you as my teacher! Will you come back next year? I hope so!” Isn’t that sweet? No, I won’t be her teacher next year, but I do hope I’ll still see her every now and then.


But then I opened this:

Photo 89


“Thank you for being my teacher. I’ve learned so much. I’m glad that you encouraged me to bring my Bible and answer every single question even the hard ones.”


Now, my first reaction to that was laughter. I came into the year a bit late, and my little group of students weren’t in the habit of bringing their Bibles with them to class. So it became a running joke for me to say, “You know why we bring our Bibles, don’t you?” And they would respond, “It’s Bible study!” Within a few weeks, they were all remembering to bring them (usually).


The other long-term lesson was about finishing the whole week’s assignment. Their homework includes 12-15 questions, and they often didn’t answer all the questions. They had a tendency to answer the hard ones with “idk” or a question mark. If they didn’t have their whole lesson done, I would encourage them to finish those questions they found “too hard” and then we’d go over them the next week. So I was tickled that she didn’t think I was mean or strict for having done that. Instead she was thanking me.


But my next thought was admiration.   How many of us can say what she said? How often do we turn to someone in our lives and thank them for making our lives more complicated?   How often do praise God for the complications? I mean, “Thank You, Lord, for getting me through that hard thing,” is very different from, “Thank You, Lord, for giving me that hard thing.”


It just shouldn’t be that unusual. Beth was thanking me a week after the fact. That’s hardly time for her to see the benefits of my making her do the hard questions. But that ten-year-old has enough wisdom to know that in the long run, my insistence is gonna pay off for her. And that’s all God wants from us ~ the realization now of who we are becoming. No reason not to thank Him now, for then.


~ “He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” ~

Philippians 1:6


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