Tough Times Provide Plenty of Reasons to be Thankful


A wife travels to Texas, a husband to Israel. Wife gets sick. Husband worries himself sick. What good can come out of that?

This morning I rose in Bethlehem with the Muslim call to early prayer (4:00 AM, an unfamiliar part of the day when I’m in the U. S.).

I appreciated the wakeup call because I had no idea until then of the time.

I rose and dressed in the dark (I’ve got a roommate on this leg of the journey). Grabbing my computer and backpack, I slipped out the door and headed to our hotel’s dining area.

I read with pleasure my wife’s report of the doctor’s visit. No mysteries solved (Ellen usually mystifies doctors and always mystifies me) but she should be released Tuesday morning (today in Israel, but tomorrow in Texas).

What have I learned in this crisis?

1) We’ve got loads of good friends. Friends and fellow travelers John and Kim allowed me use of their Skype connection to call my wife’s cell phone. Friend Jennifer helped with the drive to Texas and remains with Ellen at a time I’m unable. A friend offers to call from her home in Russia. Many others send their love, prayers, and best wishes. We’ve got loads of friends all over the world. I’m humbled by their response.

2)      Our son communicates in crisis. Phone calls to Ellen and emails to me have kept us connected during this difficult time in our family. I’m thankful for Daniel’s response.

3)      I can learn new tricks. None of the communication means have been difficult but many are new to me. The crisis has stretched me a lot. I’m surprised by my response.

4)      Israel is a great place to pray. That may seem a strange lesson since it’s not your typical day in the life unless you live here. But yesterday I traveled around Jerusalem to many sacred sites. Each afforded an opportunity to pray in a public place and not be thought a batty old kook or some religious nut case. Even as I write this now, I’m surprised by the depth of feeling in that lesson. In a time of crisis, with the need to pray, I’m in a place of crisis surrounded by praying people. This is the norm not the exception.

I remain humbled by this experience, the support of so many friends, and the grace afforded me and my family.

A tough time.

Unexpected.

Unwanted.

But…

A blessing in disguise.

The crisis refines.

The multiple responses (friends, son, my own) bring both peace and pleasure.

Question: what lessons during crisis have you learned?

About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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5 Responses to Tough Times Provide Plenty of Reasons to be Thankful

  1. Brandon says:

    Great stuff!

  2. tnealtarver says:

    Thanks, Brandon. Not hard to find the good in the bad.

  3. Kathy Hayes says:

    Our God is able and amazing! I wanted to run (or fly) to Texas to help Ellen and her friend, but knew that was not practical, and it sounds like she made it back home quicker than I probably would have made it down there. But, I knew I could pray, and that Ellen was in good hands…our Heavenly Father’s!

  4. jonstolpe says:

    Thanks for sharing the post with me today.

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