The goats are going away today, not forever, but probably until the fall. Friends have an acreage with a large, securely fenced pasture, full of tall, lush grass, and they asked if the goats could go and stay with them and clear this field.
This is a wonderful opportunity for the goats, but I will definitely miss the antics of my three mischievous friends and their greetings each day as I go down to the corral. Their absence will leave a hole in my life. But the goats will have the opportunity to graze freely, morning, noon, and night — which is truly a goat's delight.
As I was considering this opportunity, I thought about other times in my life when much-loved people or creatures have moved on, either for a season or for good. Depending upon the situation, such times can be very difficult. They call for adjustment and change. They often bring sadness, and they always demand courage to face them with a good attitude.
During one such episode years ago, I was asking God to help me deal with the loneliness that I was experiencing, when these thoughts entered my mind: Be thankful for this wonderful opportunity that they have. Be thankful for all the new people and lessons and opportunities that lie ahead for them in this new situation. Wow! What a turn of events as I considered this new perspective! Suddenly, the situation was no longer about me, but about them. As my prayers changed from self-absorption to thanksgiving for all the opportunities which were now theirs, my loneliness decreased markedly. God had shown me a secret. It wasn't a new secret. In fact, it was a very old secret. It is the secret which Paul wrote about so long ago:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Today, none of us knows what may come. But each of us can rest assured that amidst any losses that we may now be enduring or that the future may bring, we can honestly partake in giving thanks, especially if we focus not upon the loss, but upon the new opportunities that will lie before those whom we miss. And in giving such thanks, we will also find the unexpected blessing of joy returning to our hearts amidst our pain. I think that that is a secret worth embracing, don't you?
Prayer: Father God, thank You so much that Your Word is always true and doable. Bless us this day, as in obedience we strive to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Your will for us in Christ Jesus, in Whose name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Jesus Lover Of My Soul" (Lyrics)