i just wanted to share this one story - an example of mark's excellent writing - very very readable and it hits home to my heart ... he makes a point about thankfulness ...
page 106 - 107 from the Holy Wild
I was in Uganda, Africa about a dozen years ago, in a little township called Wairaka. Every Sunday evening, about one hundred Christians from the neighboring area would gather to worship. They met at the edge of a cornfield, under a lean-to with a rusty tin roof that cracked like gunfire when it rained. They sat - when they did sit - on rough wood benches. The floor was dirt. The band's instruments were old or handmade - bruised, scratched guitars with corroded strings and necks that had warped in the humidity; a plinky electric piano plugged into a crackling speaker; shakers made of tin cans and stones. All of it kept straying out of tune.
One Sunday evening, I was too sour to join in. The music sounded squawky, I was miffed at someone on our missions team, I found the food bland, tasteless. I was feeling deprived and misunderstood. I found the joy of others hollow, mustered-up. I was miserable, and I wanted to wallow in it.
The pastor asked if anyone had anything to share. Many people wanted to, but a tall, willowy woman in the back row danced and shouted loudest, so he called her forward. She came twirling her long limbs, trilling out praise.
"Oh, brothers and sisters, I love Jesus so much," she said.
"Tell us, sister! Tell us!" the Ugandans shouted back.
"Oh, I love Him so much, I don't know where to begin. He is so good to me. Where do I begin to tell you how good He is to me?"
"Begin there, sister! Begin right there!"
"Oh," she said, "He is so good. I praise Him all the time for how good He is. For three months, I prayed to Him for shoes, And look!" And with that the woman cocked up her leg so that we could see one foot. One very ordinary shoe covered it, "He gave me shoes."
The Ugandans went wild. They clapped, they cheered, they whistled, they yelled.
But not me. I was devastated. I sat there broken and grieving. In an instant, God snapped me out of my self-pity and plunged me into repentance. In all my life, I had not once prayed for shoes. It never even crossed my mind. And in all my life, I had not even once thanked God for the many, many shoes I had.
Thanklessness becomes its own prison. Persisted in, it becomes its own hell, where there is outer darkness and gnashing of teeth. Thanklessness is the place God doesn't dwell, the place that, if we inhabit it too often, He turns us over to. "See to it that no one misses the grace of God," Hebrews says, "and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Thanklessness troubles and defiles many, because first it troubles and defiles the one in whom bitterness takes root.
end of quote
this book is so well written that i am reading it like a novel ... rather than a study book ... his writing is full of images that make me think, pray, repent and rejoice!