Last week I was sharing details over the phone to someone about the devastation that was taking place around us. The reply I received was, “Most people don’t realize what y’all go through in that “paradise.” I kind of laughed to myself and thought, Nope. No, they probably don’t. Take away the air conditioned rental cars, the vacation money you saved up to spend on anything that catches your eye, the nice, spotless hotel room that gets scrubbed for you every day, and your leisure to catch as many breathtaking sunsets as you want and you are left with little resembling a paradise. People often joke to us, “Ah well, how are you doing there “suffering” for Jesus?” Sometimes I would like to trade places with them for a day and see if maybe the sarcasm drips off of their remark a bit. Do you know what I think I would discover? The world around them is probably surrounded with a lot of suffering too, and probably fewer beautiful sunsets. They may not have to endure daily fiery ant bites, mud squishing between their toes when they go to their car, bumpy roads, intense heat....but I am sure they face trials of many kinds. We are all in the same world boat, so to speak, with suffering to endure. Next to that thought another truth can equally be applied: We all have something to be grateful for. We all have reasons to thank our Lord and praise His name.
This past week most people living in south Pacific Costa Rica faced trials of many kinds. Many, many kinds. Tuesday evening it began to rain, and the rain did not stop for 108 hours. During that time we lost power, internet connection, water, fresh food, and the ability to drive any further than ten minutes from where we live. We also might have lost our sanity, but with a wild toddler to entertain in these conditions, who wouldn’t? Many people died, many lost their homes or at least the things in their homes, many, even after the storm, are still without power and water. Plans were canceled, funerals were planned, schools were closed, and in general people were at a loss for what they could do. Many prayed and our faithful God answered. Saturday morning met us with a few rays of sunshine breaking through and nothing more than a calm drizzle of rain. Basic comforts were slowly restored and life began to bustle about once more. What were our petty inconveniences compared to the great loss many faced? There is much to be grateful for.
Tuesday nights we meet with a handful of locals to spend time with God and study His Word together. This week, instead of receiving Jason’s teaching of the Word, we spent our time writing down the many things we are grateful for, blessings that God has poured into our lives and surrounded us with. The more time we deliberately spent pondering our blessings, the more blessed we realized we are. Our lists grew and grew until the pages were filled. Great things. Simple things. Even difficult things. All straight from the hand that created us with love, grace, mercy and that sustains us with compassion, patience and kindness.
It may seem cliche to write in November about giving thanks, but this girl is not ashamed. May we thank Him during the storms, may we thank Him under a bright sun, may we thank Him when we are full, may we thank Him when all is gone. Thank you for the storm, Papa. Thank you for what you’ve done.
Sarah Thompson Smith