Fulton Oursler wrote the Greatest Story Ever Told, which was made into a movie that people from my generation may have seen during Easter time. In one of his writings, he mentions his old nurse who was born a slave in Maryland. She delivered both his mother & himself. According to Oursler it was that old nurse who taught him the greatest lesson in giving thanks & finding contentment.
This is what he recorded of a dialogue with the old nurse when he was a child. He began, “I remember her as she sat at the kitchen table in our house; the hard, old, brown hands folded across her starched apron, the glistening eyes, and the husky old whispering voice, saying, ‘Much obliged, Lord, for my vittles.’” He asked her, “Anna, what’s a vittle?” She answered, “It’s what I’ve got to eat and drink, that’s vittles.” The perplexed boy asked, “But you’d get your vittles whether you thanked the Lord or not.” Anna’s final answer was, “Sure, but it makes everything taste better to be thankful.”
This old woman who was a former slave & who probably had nothing of material value knew God & was savoring His blessings.
As missionaries, one ongoing effort has been to open our eyes or to rediscover God’s blessings that are already in place, blessings out of God’s faithfulness we had taken for granted. This is true no matter where we are. When we begin to fixate on what we are lacking, there’s no end to it. It is when we begin to be grateful for our daily vittles, the relationships we have & for God’s presence in our lives that a sense of richness can be enjoyed & ultimately triumph experienced.
Sometimes, maybe oftentimes, we pray for answers to our prayers without realizing that what God desires more than taking care of us (though He faithfully does) is really for our growth. Inner growth that results in seeing, understanding & believing in His goodness & sovereignty. To this end, He will always stretch us deeper & farther than before.
If you haven’t experienced already, this process will lead us to face weariness, frustration, disappointment, sorrow, poverty, rejection, loneliness, all of which our Lord has experienced Himself. But the prize is that without us realizing, when we are least expecting it, we will begin to hear His voice that catches our hearts off guard. And you can’t help but to weep in gratitude.
We are praying that we will be able to offer 20 plus years on the mission field. It has only been a year and a half, and where we want to be seems quite far away. But today, we are celebrating the progress that the Lord has helped us make so far in our language & missions. It makes everything taste sweeter!
Please pray for us this week since we will find out where we will move this summer to continue our mission work.