This morning our pastor, Fujii Sensei, came to our house church and led us in a time of communion and a short-ish message. He talked on the idea of spiritual blessings (from Ephesians 1)…and ended with a story in which he and his wife had just found a place to live in Sanda – an apartment – and then they were told that they had to move out for 3 months while the heating units were being redone. They were so discouraged…but Sensei in his prayer times sensed the Lord telling him to “give thanks – even in this.” He resisted and resisted, but finally found it coming out of his mouth. He was able to thank God for what felt like a huge problem. And it became not just words, but a real sense from his heart of trust and thanks in God’s provision and care. As the story turned out, there was another apartment opened on the top floor, and they were able to relocate there. But the point was — finding a voice to give thanks for the problems in our lives that we can’t solve.
The lesson hit my heart. I had shared recently with several friends about my frustration with our dining situation. We have been looking for another, larger home in our neighborhood, but one hasn’t been available. In the meantime, we are using a fold-up dining room table and several fold-up chairs set up in the living room. I’ve tried to think through different scenarios- rearrange the living room? Buy a different dining room? Redo the Japanese-style area?
No – right now… I need to practice giving thanks for what is challenging. I can’t solve it right now…but I can entrust it to God and thank Him for what he’s doing in the midst of it all.