Will you choose to retreat or strive forward with a desire to impact others?

Last week I wrote about how we can live with Hope knowing from our past that God will be with us. Habakkuk tells us that, “ The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.” – HABAKKUK 3: 17-19. Notice the tense here is in the future. “He will make” not “He might” or “He probably” or even “He did” meaning it is only in the past. The picture above is not only beautiful but denotes a quandary. When I come into the presence of God, Will I choose to turn left or right, or will I continue to move forward even if I don’t know what the new day will bring? My friend Pamela Bunn gave me permission to repost her blog From this AM because she makes the point In such an eloquent manner.

Never the Same

“When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead.When they enter, the prince shall enter with them, and when they go out, he shall go out.” Ezekiel 46:9-10

Moses’ face altered in appearance with its heavenly glow. David was renewed with strength for battle with sin and soldier. Nehemiah gained clear direction for what to do next. Daniel and John had visions of their majestic God and His kingdom plans. Once before their Lord, these men of God never returned or saw the same way, but went ahead with Him in new understanding, passion, and power. (Exodus 34:29,34-35Nehemiah 1:4-11Psalm 32:3-5Daniel 2:19-23Revelation 1:10-114:1-11)

Every time we come before the Lord, we have opportunity to retreat unaltered the same way we entered, or to go out different. Spending meaningful time with the Prince of Peace, the King of kings, the Ruler of the universe, changes us, and this is our holy God’s intention. 

When we go before our Lord in devotion, what is our desire and expectation? If our hearts are not malleable, and our ears deaf to all but our own voice, we will miss the opportunity for God to have His way. Are we checking the “Quiet Time” box off our list, or are we seeking genuine worship and communion? Do we bring a list of requests we’ve tallied, or ask Him to search our hearts and speak to us with conviction and instruction? Do we allot a hurried amount of time, or converse, and wait, until He is finished with us? (Genesis 17:2218:33)

Do we approach the feast He has prepared and sup in such a way that when we enter weary, we leave refreshed? When we enter bitter and angry, do we leave cleansed and emboldened to forgive? If we enter confused over relationships, decisions, finances, future plans, do we leave trusting the Spirit to guide one step at a time?

What has God revealed about Himself and His manner of work in individuals, the church, and the world, in recent time together? How has He reshaped our thinking, or assuaged our fears? What niggling sins has He removed, what new resolve has He prodded, what changed attitudes and transformed affections has He created?

When we want much from Him, He will never disappoint. Our prayers may not be answered how and when we desire, but Almighty God will not fail to bring about His intentions for us and for His kingdom. (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Isn’t this so good? I can promise you God through adversity has revealed a great deal to me. 1st through my health challenges due to Guillain Barre Syndrome and 2nd with having to deal with staying healthy and away from any chance of coming down with Covid19. The closer you become to God the better person you will become, your life will have more purpose and and have a positive impact on those around you. I use the future tense “will have” because as Much Afraid learned in the book Hinds Feet, when you step out in faith, God promises an abundant life (John 10:10) and desires that it be full of Joy. (John 15:11)

I encourage you to subscribe to https://astherainandsnow.com/author/astherainandsnow/ as well as this blog www.thankfulinallthings.com if you haven’t already. You can contact me via email at michael@mrg7175.com

Looking back, allows you to look forward

Last week I played my annual 100 holes of golf to raise money for FCA and AIA. When the person I played with found out about my recovery from Guillain Barre, his 1st response was “that had to be really scary.” My answer, in all honesty, is nothing scared me once it was determined I would not need to go on a ventilator. That in itself was a blessing as the doctor gave me a 78% chance of that happening within 24 hours of being admitted to UVA. It was the only time I cried. I have thought a lot about not being scared and it boils down to one thing. My faith allowed me to trust God in as Paul writes in Hebrews 11, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I also trusted a good friend who is a doctor when he said, “this is going to get worse but you will get better” But why did I have such a trust?

The trust came from being able to look back over my life to the significant moments where God met me in that place and showed me the way forward. As I shared my GBS story with my golf marathon partner, the book “Hinds feet in high places” by Hannah Humard came to mind. The author titled it based on Habakkuk 3:19, “The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds‘ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” and also from Psalm 18:33 “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.” I was not scared because I believed my strength would return, I would walk again and yes, even be able to play golf all day long for FCA/AIA. “Much Afraid” in Hinds feet “had the feeling that somehow, in the very far-off places, perhaps even in far-off ages, there would be a meaning found to all sorrow and an answer too fair and wonderful to be as yet understood.” I have experienced that same wonderful meaning in my life.

Elizabeth Elliott expressed where rest is found in marathons or any challenge we face: ”God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will. and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.” Pamela Bunn writes in her blog https://astherainandsnow.com/author/astherainandsnow/, “Though Elijah had his weak moments of discouragement and fear, Elijah would learn by experience that the Lord would never ask him to do anything for which He was not enough. Repeatedly, His adequacy came forth out of lack and impossibility, and that is where it best shines. (1 Kings 17:11-1618:32-39)

Prior to GBS there have been many times in my life that like Much Afraid in Hinds Feet, God met me which gave me the strength and courage to persevere in the midst of the adversity. Each time it made me stronger having gone through it. Little did I know I would need those times to not be afraid when lying in a hospital bed with GBS unable to move. Here are some things I learned from a sermon by Chip Ingram at https://livingontheedge.org that I hope will help you the next time you come up against a challenge.

  1. God uses adversity to make us more mature because we are forced to depend on God rather than on our own power
  2. We are weaned from the worldly and temporal things and made to realize what is really important In our lives
  3. We get to witness the reality and Power Of God. 
  4. God gives us the privilege of showing others what it looks like to trust in God.
  5. Finally, going through a struggle gives you the ability to help others who are experiencing some kind of trial in their life.

Paul sums it up well in 2 Corinthians 9:8. “It is in these very hard circumstances that His enough is the most welcome, satisfying, and glorious, showing forth the bounty of His nature toward us.” I pray you will find joy in knowing God is indeed enough. Be blessed!

To learn more about my GBS story visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie If you want to support my FCA/AIA golf fundraiser, click on this link. https://my.fca.org/donation?name=fcauvagolfmarathon I can be reached at michael@mrg7175.com

Thoughts on how to remain thankful

Bruce Pulver shared how he thinks of the word Hope. That led me to respond this way.

Bruce Pulver
“HOPE.
Have
Overwhelmingly
Positive
Expectations”
My response/add on
Having Hope allows us to remain
FOCUSED
Focused
On
Creating
Unbelievable
Success
Every
Day

Having this kind of mindset allows me to make the most of each day so I, by God’s grace, can be a better person tomorrow. Another way I look at it is with the two words RISE UP which comes from the verse Isaiah 60:1-3

60 “Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. For see, darkness will cover the earth. Much darkness will cover the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His shining-greatness will be seen upon you. Nations will come to your light. And kings will see the shining-greatness of the Lord on you.

God calls us Each and every day to RISE UP/P
Resolved Intentional Striving for Eternal things. W Unbelievable Purpose/Passion. Over this past month or so, I have been trying to live out Gregory Boyd’s Exhortation to live out my life knowing “God is in the Now” and when I do it makes the [Present Perfect] (the name of his book)
When I can stay in the moment it pushes away all the distractions, discouragement, and challenges so that I can live a life of gratitude. It is not that the adversity disappears. The story of Peter walking on the water In Matthew 14:22-33 illustrates this very point. The storm was raging while he was out there. It wasn’t until he took his eyes off of Jesus that he realized the wind and the waves. When he did, he immediately sank. Isn’t that just like us. When we start trying to do things on our own power the stuff comes flooding back in leaving us discouraged and defeated. We just need to choose to remember that God loves us and that is all that matters. When We go out into the world virtually or in person with that thought process it is much easier to be thankful and as Miles McPherson encourages, strive to honor those who cross our paths.
How do we stay in the Now? Here are a couple things I have done.
1) I have set a reminder on my phone at 6am, 9am,noon, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm. It comes up at BSKIG. Be still and know that I am God. When I see the notice, I stop and recite The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. I try to add things into both that bring up things that are going on in my life at that point in the day. An example is below.
2) I try to commit to honoring every person I encounter whether on the phone, via zoom, or in person. A quick prayer, “Lord, let me honor this person in this interaction so that they might see You in my conversation with them”

These simple things have helped me greatly in remaining thankful during these mind boggling times. I hope they will in some way help you as well. If it has, please forward it to others and ask them to subscribe so they can receive an email when Impost new content. You can reach me via email at michael@mrg7175.com.

My Quarantine version of Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

As I navigate the lonely paths of Covid19, The Lord will be my guide and His presence is all I need 

Whether I think it is needed or not, I will use this time for rest and quiet reflection. 

So that my soul can be refreshed 

As He guides me where He wants me to be used bring Glory and honor to His name. 

Even though I walk

 through the valley of people wearing masks

I will fear no evil,

He gives my faith confidence so that I can go or do wherever He feels the need to send me. 

 Knowing even in self-isolation you are with me and won’t forsake me. 

Like the shepherds’ rod and staff, your Word and the Holy Spirit will teach and comfort me. 

Even in the midst of my adversity, You will abundantly provide all that I need so that I will it be afraid. 

Like an anointing, You will bless and protect me from whatever evil that wants to prey on me. 

You will fill me with your spirit so that cup of love you want me to share overflows. 

I count and trust on the contentment of your love for as long as I am to live.

This assurance brings joy knowing that I will be welcomed and will forever dwell in the house that you went and prepared for me. 


Acknowledging the tension between Sadness and Gratitude

How could this picture bring about sadness? Doesn’t everyone look like they are having a good time? I mean you are on a dock looking at boats on a beautiful day with family. What could be better? The gratitude part for Dottie and me says, “we are blessed to get away to a beautiful place with those we love. Nothing brings us more joy. So where is the sadness? The sadness is what isn’t pictured here. It reminds me that my son, his wife, and three kids weren’t with us leaving a huge void. Not being the one to pull the wagon conveys Dottie and me having to stay socially distanced because of Covid19. There is not one picture of us and our grandkids because we couldn’t even be inside, hug them or have them sit in our laps.

Scripture like the one pictured above remind us of this tension. No matter what comes our way, we can remain “Thankful in all Things” because God made tensions like these for our own good. This tension and others like “out of adversity comes strength”, “letting go allows God to do His thing”, and “peace in the midst of turmoil” are used to strengthen our relationship with God. Our creator who is always with us in the good and the bad. Like the footprints in the sand poem, God is always there. We just sometimes forget to look for Him.

Kellie Balarie prays- “God, help us. Where we are weak, make us strong. Where we are wavering, help us lay our anchor down. May we find strength through knowing you hold us. We no longer need to be held down by the world’s claws. May we believe you are so believable we see your hand in our everything.”

May we seek contentment in everything whether it produces Gratitude or heart felt Sadness. Jesus tells us how in John 15:10,11.
“Keep My commandments and no matter what remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” I pray the same for each of you who read this blog.

For the story of how this blog got started, go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can reach me by email at michael@mrg7175.com

What can be learned from the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

The country lost an amazing force when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday. How meaningful it was that this, small in stature but mighty in character woman, passed away on one of the holiest days of her religion.

Affectionately known as RBG, Justice Ginsberg, was indeed a person of great righteousness.  I personally admired and respected her even though I sometimes disagreed with her legal opinions. I was not alone in that regard. “What’s not to like?” Scalia said of Ginsburg at that joint appearance six years ago. “Except her views on the law.” Thus did the two ideological opposites attract for what became from that day on a close friendship – one their families, friends and colleagues recalled affectionately after Scalia’s death at a Texas ranch in 2016 and again following Ginsburg’s death Friday on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.” (from USA Today article) https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/20/supreme-friends-ruth-bader-ginsburg-and-antonin-scalia/5844533002/

I don’t know about you but I am tired of the rancor and divisiveness in our society these days. Why does it feel so much worse than in years past? Could it be that it isn’t but social media is making us feel that way. A Netflix documentary, “Social Dilemna”makes this very point. The way the apps are set up cause us to be pulled one way or another making us feel like there is no middle any more. The relationship between Scalia and Ginsberg begs to differ. Judge Scalia was known to say, “We agree on a whole lot of stuff,” Ruth is really bad only on the knee-jerk stuff.” Ruth Bader Ginsberg exemplified the words of David in Psalm 90:10 “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom as each day takes us one day closer to eternity. 

Her life and the relationship she had with one, so diametrically opposed to some of her views, support what I have been writing here for the last few weeks. Like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, when faced with opposition, we need to STUDY the issue, seek to UNDERSTAND, and then allow ourselves to be VULNERABLE enough to listen to another point of view. The Samaritan had a choice. Instead of crossing the road to avoid the man who was robbed and beaten, He got close enough to SEE he was alive, FEEL his pain, so that he could be SHAKEN into action. Where do you need to do the same? Will you cross the road or meet the challenge head on?

The USA Today article goes on to say, “In an era of increasingly bitter partisan enmity, the odd coupling of Ginsburg – petite, serious, seemingly shy – and Scalia – rotund, garrulous, overtly opinionated – may be viewed as an anachronism. But many cited it over the weekend as a signal of hope.” Who with opposite view points is God asking you to build this same kind of friendship?

My Guillain Barre health challenge www.caringbridge.com/visit/michaelguthrie was the impetus for this blog. I hope you will subscribe. Contact me at michael@mrg7175..com

What does it mean by going the extra mile?

It has been 6 months since I went into a self-isolating protocol due to my compromised immune system that caused Guillain Barre Syndrome. Little did I know on March 12th that the lessons learned during my GBS battle would serve me so well in dealing with the Covid19 Pandemic six months later.

Are we having fun yet? Will the effects of Covid19 ever stop being our daily focus? When will we all feel safe to gather together in larger groups? When will we not feel concerned about taking any type of public transportation or eating inside at a restaurant? These questions continue to be asked with no end in sight. As I wrestle with these, one other question came to mind that got me through my GBS ordeal.. What’s next?

I wrote about this question in one of my early blog posts http://thankfulinallthings.com/plateaus-then-and-now/ When my body started to respond to the plasmapheresis, the temptation was to start thinking about being fully recovered vs what can I do right now to be a little better tomorrow? It kept me from getting frustrated in what turned out to be a very long and slow recovery process. Can I get an Amen that Covid19 has been very long and slow in its recovery? Staying focused on the “What’s next” kept and now is keeping me in the moment which is all I can control. I have recently been reading a book called Present Perfect that echoes this mindset. It is teaching me that God is in the Now not the the past or what the future holds. The Now is all I control. Scripture teaches this with verses like “pray without ceasing” and in 1st Thessalonians, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Going the extra mile is another way of looking at focusing on what’s next. Matthew 5:41 says, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” For me, this was so true as the PT’s forced me to push forward so my body could regain its full strength. It was literally just one step and then one more. Thankfully, the extra steps turned into miles culminating in running the community Bridges 5K last October with my dear friend Kaitlyn and other friends and family.

The anyone in Matthew 5 right now is Covid19 and the restrictions it has placed on us. Day after day and now month after month we are being asked to refrain from so much that bring us joy. It is also the racial tension that has gripped our country. Wrong is being done and people are finding it hard to “go the extra mile” in seeking to understand and look for good in their neighbor. Miles McPherson in The Third Option says, ” It is about self-sacrifice. To love and go the extra mile for someone is to want what God wants for them and be willing to be a conduit for them to receive it even if it costs us dearly” James in his letter exhorts us to “quickly listen, be slow to speak, and be slow to anger” Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 says we love others by not “insisting on our own way”.

So how do we keep striving on what’s next? Rodney Rock Hatfield, stays in the Now by using the word Focused this way. ” Faithfully Obeying Christ Using Scripture Every Day”.

Like on any journey, We just need to look back to where we started to to be reminded that we have progressed in our staying focused on what’s next. From my own experience, I can tell you it helped me not quit as I Failed forward toward the next plateau. May we all stay in the Now and may our mindset be honoring God is all that we do and/or say.

If you are new here, learn more about my dealing with GBS at www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can email me at michael@mrg7175.com

The light always cuts through the darkness

I have been meeting with a group of men on Fridays for over 5 years. They have been examples of people I wrote about last week in http://thankfulinallthings.com/is-god-calling-you-to-be-a-bridge-builder/. Folks who become bridges or those who provide support to those being a bridge to others needing help getting through a challenge or out of a difficult place. These Friday guys have been that for me and for each other. This past week one of them shared how he was really struggling. He was in what was a very dark place. What happened next was remarkable. In a matter of less than an hour, He went from a man in tears, visibly in anguish, to his head nodding and his face breaking into a smile. Why? The struggle was still real and upon him but what was different was he was reminded of God’s love for him by those in the meeting. Guys shined light into his darkness which allowed his spirit to turn its back on despair and move toward the hope that God promises no matter what the adversity.

You see. (Pardon the pun 😀) The light will always defeat the darkness. We just need to look for it. Think for a moment, you are lost in a vast space, so dark, that you can’t see your hand in front of your face. You call out for help and someone far way has a little pin light which they shine your way. No matter how dark, that light cuts through it and leads you to safety. That is what happened Friday morning. He could have chosen not to show up allowing himself to be defeated by his circumstances. Instead, he chose to join in and call out for help. One by one, individuals shared how they had faced the darkness themselves in their lives. It was beautiful to watch , “you are not alone”, being spoken making it clear there was a way out. They led their brother out of that very dark place.; to a mindset of hope where, even though the storm was still raging, he knew God was allowing this group we call “knuckleheads” to build a bridge. A bridge that would lead him out of the darkness and into the light. This poem by Annie Johnson Flint from Streams in the Desert describes it much more beautifully.

“Deep the waves may be and cold

But Jehovah is our refuge.

And His promise is our hold;

For the Lord Himself hath said it,

He, the faithful God and true:

”When thou comest to the waters 

Thou shalt not go down, BUT THROUGH.”

So many people shined their lights for Dottie and me to walk toward in the darkest of places as I dealt with and recovered from Guillain Barre Syndrome. Having gone through it, I now have a deep desire to be that light of hope for others. Friday morning, once again, showed me it does make a difference which allows me and my hopeful friend be “Thankful in all Things”

If you are in a dark place of despair, remember and have hope in the promise that God is with you. If you have successfully navigated through a challenging time, now it is your turn to shine the light for someone else to see. They are counting on you.

Matthew 5:16 “You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” 


Please subscribe to this blog so you can receive email notifications when new content is posted. Contact me at michael@mrg7175.com.

Is God calling you to be a Bridge Builder

How we handle difficulties can encourage others and draw His children closer to Him. Your

Joni Eareckson Tada shares-“God did not take His hands off the wheel of your life for a nanosecond. From start to finish, everything followed God’s plan for you. your trials have much more meaning than you realize. Your problems have more purpose than you can imagine” It could be that what you have experienced will help someone else deal with the challenges they face.”

How we handle difficulties can indeed encourage others and draw His children closer to Him. Your journey can become just the inspiration someone else needs. One of the greatest compliments we can receive is that we are a “Bridge Builder”. That God has gifted us with the ability to be like a bridge when someone gets to what seems like an unpassable place in life. Being the person who helps facilitate a way for the person in need to get across to the other side of the dilemma. When I think about what it means to be a bridge, here are a few things that come to mind.

1) A bridge has to be strong enough to carry the weight of what it is allowing to cross. Therefore, it needs to have a firm foundation. Isaiah 28:16 says,”Therefore thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

2) It also has to be trusted by those using it that it is reliable no matter what the circumstance. If you are seen as a bridge, people will know that when they come to you no matter what, you will be there to walk them over their fears, anxieties, uncertainties, etc. 3) Sometimes a person’s burden may be too much for you to bear so the bridge needs more structural support. Make sure, like Moses in Exodus 17,, you have people committed to lifting you up. “Aaron and Hur were with Moses from the beginning and when Moses struggled to keep his hands lifted up, Aaron and Hur provided the support he needed.”

Like the song sung by Simon and Garfunkel back in my day 🙂 being a bridge to someone allows them to

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Sail on, sail on, sail on

Your time has come
To shine
All your dreams
Are on their way
Your dreams are on their way
See how they shine

God says our lives can shine even in these uncertain days. filled with Covid19 concerns and, with no doubt, our world is faced with troubled waters. Each of us has a role we can play in allowing God to intervene all of us can experience the peace that “surpasses all human understanding” He promises in Philippians 4. I pray the Lord will make us a bridge so others can find a way over whatever obstacles stand in their way. If being a bridge seems like too much, find someone who is and offer your support as Aaron and Hur did for Moses. That way we will all do our part to help others withstand the burdens that we all face. The result will be God’s kingdom being built up on earth as it is in heaven and strengthening others to do the same. 

Pamela Bunn writes in http://www.astherainandsnow.com, When we fix our identitiy in God, and who He’s called us to be, our lives will be permeated with a serenity of Spirit, even when we are flagging, that draws others to our source of strenght.” What better bridge can be built than one that takes us to the God our Father, who art in heaven.

However you have found this blog, please subscribe so you can receive email notifications when new content is posted. Respond in the comment section or you can email me at michael@mrg7175.com. Be blessed.

How can Suffering create Thankfulness

The theme of this blog post is “Lessons learned in my journey through adversity” I am grateful for how so many of you have shared what this blog has meant to you. It won’t come as a surprise when I say we all face adversity and deal with it in different ways. I thought you might like to read how one of my good friends, Tom Trevillian, is dealing with his wife’s serious health challenges. The following is what he sent me when I asked him, “What does it mean to remain Thankful in all Things?

Did you ever think of “thanking” as a discipline? One could say, “Is it genuine thanking if I have to conjure it up like an appointment to actually thank someone.” “It needs to come from the heart.” How we have learned to have an attitude of gratitude becomes apparent when life takes a turn for the worst. I have been learning what it looks like to have a thankful heart. Can we be joyful in our suffering?  Is this really possible? We know God knew we would experience trials and temptations because His Word spends a lot of time teaching how and why this is possible.  James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Count it all joy when you encounter various trails.” I found myself asking what does this mean?

My wife of 43 years and best friend had a near fatal brain hemorrhage in January. She has been besieged with pain and suffering are part of the human experience. Most of the time we struggle to find the reason God would allow the event(s) take place. We know trusting that He wants what is best and is with us has to be our focus. One of the Bible’s main subjects is suffering and pain and how to deal with it. James encourages us to be joyful in our suffering. Job learns to accept God’s sovereignty without any explanation. Pain and suffering leave us with a lot of questions but also with our greatest opportunity.

In this opportunity God removes our weaknesses and builds us up. It will humble us, remove self regard and pride. We begin to examine ourselves, seeing our weaknesses. Suffering will turn us toward the more important things in life such as family and faith. Most importantly it should renew and strengthen our relationship with God. John 15 exhorts us like a branch to a vine, If we cling to Him it will strengthen us and create a new and deeper understanding of His faithfulness.

The Bible spends as much time on this as any other subject. Romans 5: 1-5 and James 1:2-4  tells rather bluntly that suffering has its rewards. It both reminds us of the benefits of perseverance: our character. Romans 5:5 says that pain and suffering produces perseverance and character, and then provides hope for life. It produces the wonderful fruit : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.  Without the trials when faced with adversity, true perseverance and character can’t be developed.

As mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to dodge pain and suffering in this life. Gayle almost died that night in the UVA Hospital. Gayle struggled for five weeks to get out of ICU and into rehab. After progressing well in rehab, she suffered  multiple seizures setting her back to her first rehab days, totally dependent on others. These type of setbacks are so hard.

Gayle is my best friend, my soul mate. We were a young 70, married 43 years, with no serious health problems. We had good genes and were thinking we would make it to 90 years old.  Our kids were grown with their own kids. We were enjoying grandkids, traveling and retirement. This was not supposed to happen.  Rising every morning for 40 plus years to read our Bible and pray together I now know prepared us for this time. We are learning the hard way that we have what it takes to face a life of disability. Pain and suffering are a school unto themselves but God continues to remind us of His presence. Both are teaching perseverance and strengthening the character in me, Gayle, and her amazing sister, Pam. Please pray that Gayle. Pam and I will hang in there. Pray I serve her with unconditional love, patience and that as CS Lewis writes, “that I might be Surprised by Joy.” There are great life lessons here. I am learning that, to work through difficult times (persevere), God shows us we can accomplish more than we can ever imagine and our hope must be in Him. There is no doubt, Suffering will give you this opportunity.

Tom and Gayle Trevillian Married and best friends

You can follow Gayle’s continued journey at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/gayletrevillian I can be reached via email at michael@mrg7175.com

How do I remain Thankful in all Things?

I wrote a while back about having read Jon Gordon’s book, The Garden. It was a short book that I read on Sunday afternoon sitting by the water at Smith Mountain Lake. As mentioned in this podcast, https://www.thebrianbuffinishow.com/the-garden-with-jon-gordon-225/ Jon wrote this parable like story to help folks deal with the fear and anxiety in their lives. The uncertainty in our world today makes the book even more relevant today.

It has been a month since I read The Garden. Little did I know God would use it to once again. Teaching me to remain thankful in all things and remain positive even when what is going on in the world makes me feel otherwise. I was on a Zoom call the other day with some of my oldest and dearest friends. (Side note- 6 months ago, who had even heard of Zoom? 😀) The conversation turned to having an attitude of gratitude and whether it can make a difference. Studies like this one show people that stay positive and optimistic. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier Studies like this one prove what God has said all along. He wants us to have an abundant life (John 10:10). Psalm 91:2 teaches that even in the midst of trying and difficult times we can say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” In fact, later in the book of John. Jesus says, “He wants His joy to be in each of us so that your joy may be complete.”

I am sure many of you are experiencing your own personal trials and challenges these days. If you have been following along you know my journey through adversity, like what you are facing, has not been easy. We all have to find our own way through it. Here are just a few thoughts on what has helped me.
1) I know that God is with me. As the song, Do it again says, “He has never failed me yet” https://youtu.be/0B_lnQIITxU

2) As Jon Gordon writes in The Garden, I have to fight the distractions of my every day life so that I stay resolved in remaining positive versus succumbing to discouragement.
3) Find ways to be outward focused by serving others. This allows you to break out of just thinking about you and how you wish your circumstances were better.
4) Strive to make every moment matter. Frank Laibach writes, “ Practicing the presence of God is the secret. Paul said “pray without ceasing. In everything make your wants known to God.” As you are led by the Spirit of God you realize you are a child of God“

It is not easy to do. I have recently set up my phone to remind me every 3 hours to “Be Still and know that He is God”. I forget. I get distracted even when I stop to recite The Lord’s Prayer and/or Psalm 23. What I can say is when I do stop and remind myself, my life gains the right perspective and allows me to remain “Thankful in all things”.

My Guillain Barre Syndrome Story can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can contact me via email at michael@mrg7175.com