'To Be Cheerful - Be Thankful'
by Travis Wiginton
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"A cheerful heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" (Proverbs 17:22)
The theme of the Old Testament book of Habakkuk is "The just shall live by faith".
It closes with 3:17-19:
"Although the fig tree shall not blossom...
neither shall fruit be on the vines...
the labor of the olive shall fail...
the fields shall yield no meat...
the flock shall be cut off from the fold...
and there shall be no herd in the stall.
YET...I will rejoice in the Lord...I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like deers' feet...
and He will make me to walk upon high places."
Each time I read this, I think of being born/raised on a cotton/dairy farm in SW Okla.
Born in 1928, the depression and drought of the 30's made surviving very difficult.
The dust bowl came, forcing many to move to California.
Two memories that have helped to carry me through my 80 yrs. are:
~hearing Dad say, "It's a great day to be alive!"
~Mom singing in the kitchen (in spite of the heat and drought)
On May 10, 1990, I sat by the bed of my precious Mom in the hospital.
She had suffered a massive stroke and was in critical condition....
she did not know me nor could she talk.
When I first learned of Mom's stroke, my thoughts were:
'Travis, it's time to practice what you have been preaching all of these years!'
So, as I sat by Mom's bed with tears flowing, God reminded me of some things.
He reminded me that my Dad had double pneumonia in 1918 at 13 years of age...
and how he had miraculously recovered.
Had Dad NOT survived, we four sons would never have been born.
Neither would his 15 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
God reminded me about a terrible infection that Mom had in 1954...
when her temperature soared well above 100 degrees and she nearly died.
But she didn't, Praise God, so we had Mom for 36 more years!
God reminded me of an incident in my wife's life that could have ended in death for her.
La Moyne and 4 of her college friends at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas decided to drive to her hometown of Colorado Springs for the weekend. They were between Dalhart, Texas and Des Moines, New Mexico when a sudden snowstorm hit.
Their car (a convertible) stalled and there was no help in sight.
A trucker stopped at a filling station in Dalhart, thinking that he would spend the night there due to the bad weather. The station owner told the trucker that he was concerned about a carload of students who were out in that storm.
The Denver-Amarillo Express driver said he 'felt led' to go check on that group of kids.
When he found the car, it was almost covered with snow. He helped get the 5 students into his rig, then drove the 8 miles to Des Moines where there were over 30 truckers stranded at a small hotel there. When the wrecker returned to find the convertible the next morning, it was completely covered with snow!!
As it turned out, that trucker was THE LAST vehicle to pass that way on that evening!
Had he not felt 'led to go ahead'....
~most likely La Moyne and her friends would have perished that night
~and we would not have met in 1951 and married in 1953
~nor would we have our children, Craig, Kevin, Kyle and Kristin
~nor our 5 grandchildren.
God reminded me of when I was kicked by a horse at the age of 3...and survived.
He reminded me of a couple of times (and probably others that I was not even aware of) when He protected me from injury or death while we were serving as missionaries in Korea.
I certainly believe in Guardian Angels!
Someone has well said, "A miracle is something that cannot happen....until it does."
God preserves us physically...for spiritual reasons!
Please let God help you to reflect back on your life, as I have mine.
LET THE MIRACLE OF PERSEVERANCE FOLLOW THE MIRACLE OF PRESERVATION!
Be thankful for both...and live for Him!
Col. Robinson Risner (a Prisoner of the Viet Cong for 7 years) was asked,
"What kept you going all those years in that dungeon prison in the jungles of SE Asia?"
He replied, "Out of my memories, came faith!"
It has helped me (and hopefully will help you) if when the rough times come, we will look back and remember all of the good times. If we will count our blessings as well as our bruises.....then we can look back with Thanksgiving.
My Dad died at 62 years of age, but 60 of those years were healthy.
It's hard to forget the 2 tough years, but I MUST NOT forget the 60 good years!
Daily Bread devotional by Vernon Grounds on January 6, 2005 used the Habakkuk scripture and also Ephesians 1:3:
"God has blessed us with every Spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places in Christ".
He wrote the following:
'Tennis superstar Arthur Ashe died of AIDS, which he contracted from a blood transfusion during heart surgery. More than a great athlete, Ashe was a gentleman who inspired and encouraged many with his exemplary behavior on and off the court.
Ashe could have become embittered and self-pitying in the face of his disease...
but he maintained a grateful attitude.
He explained, "If I asked, 'Why me?' about my troubles, I would have to ask:
'Why me?' about my blessings.
Why my winning Wimbledon?
Why my marrying a beautiful, gifted woman and having a wonderful child?"
Ashe's attitude rebukes those of us who often grumble, "Why me?"
Psalms 116:12-14 asks the question that we should all ask:
"What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me?
I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows unto the Lord now, in the presence of all of His people."
My prayer is, "Lord, forgive my forgetfulness....and help my faithfulness!"
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Amen, we must learn to take the bad with the good and be thankful like you said. Beautiful article Travis and La Moyne just like you, two beautiful people. Love you, Sharon
Travis, I absolutely LOVE reading your articles. Your wisdom and servant's heart shines through in each and every one. I see Jesus in you. Thank you for blessing my heart tonight. May He continue to richly bless yours. In Christ's Love, Julia