Thursday, March 08, 2007

thankfulness ...

i am reading a REALLY marvellous book called the Holy Wild ... it is written by a pastor from B.C., mark buchanan ... this book was a gift from "the other saija" (who found me via this blog) ...

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!


Terry said...

Thank you Saija...This is such a good true story.
How thankless I am lots of times!!And how much I take for granted! I will remember this story when I am....Love Terry

Sista Cala said...

Powerful, sounds like something I would enjoy reading. Thanks for sharing.

Saija said...

terry ... this book contains many stories like this, things that God has taught mark buchanan - and he in turn shares with such vivid word pics! :o) blessings on you terry, the prairie girl!

sista cala ... the book is indeed quite powerful with many vivid word images that stay with a person long after the book is put down ... i love to share things that i learn from and that bless my own heart! blessings on ya!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for sharing this great story! We are SO priviledged compared to the rest of the world and yet I think we are the biggest complainers at times...I have been pondering on being more grateful of late too...

auntibeck said...

What a WONDERFUL story--my son just got back this week from South America and a number of communities that literally exist in garbage dumps. Children making their play in the mountains of refuse. The only real food is brought by pastors and supplied by Children's Hunger Fund. No shoes. But in those villages there did exist hope--in the faces of those like the story you've shared who know what it means to hope in God for a pair of shoes and a reason for living.

Saija said...

elizabeth ... and the blessing is if we KNOW we blessed and share what we have ... :o) ... i guess age brings more reflection ... thank you Lord for winter boots! and strong legs to walk in the snow!

antibk ... i think my heart would literally break if i saw such poverty, in actuality - living vicariously shakes me up enough ... but praise God for HOPE!

Michael said...

Sounds like a good read.
Love the photo.

Take Care

Saija said...

michael ... i loved the photo too - copied off the net ... i as going to put it at the top, but then that would sort of steal the thunder from the story - so i left it here at the end! :o)

Lorna said...

mark buchanan - terrific writer. Challenging and yet easy to read!

Thanks - I'm adding this to my wish list :) (which only grows and grows!)


PS I was thinking it would be GREAT if you came to Finland. Always a place here for you - know that - when it's the right time from God's perspective it's the right time for us!

Saija said...

lorna ... i love the share writers that inspire me - just like others have told me about them! ... and thank you for the warm invite! i was hoping i could come THIS summer - but? i don't think that i can take off from work ... so i will cotninue to pray about it ... God's time, will be the best time!