As I have battled with eczema over the past year or so, I have a greater appreciation for all that Job went through in terms of his physical affliction. Now I am in no way saying that what I experience is anything close to what Job did. Far, far from it. But in a very minute way, I can relate to him. Job is the man!
Something I am learning in my journey to abide in Christ is how important my attitude is. All those sayings like, “Your attitude will determine your altitude,” and “Have an attitude of gratitude,” or “Be humble, no grumble,” have some truth in them. And there’s a verse that is also very true and also very challenging.
1 Thess. 5:18-“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Be thankful in ALL circumstances. Now that is a challenge. Be thankful when I can’t sleep waking up every 10 minutes because of the itchiness of eczema. Really? Be thankful when things don’t go my way. Be thankful when insensitive or mean things are said to you. Be thankful when things are just not working out. Now that is a challenge.
I have a friend, Isaac, who has suffered from eczema in a far worse way than I have and for a much longer time. Isaac is over 25 years younger than I am but he inspires me to be thankful in all circumstances. When he was younger and really suffering from eczema affecting over 75% of his body, Isaac chose to do something awesome. He could have grumbled. He could have been really angry. But looking at a small patch of unaffected, smooth skin, maybe the size of a quarter, he was thankful for the smoothness of that patch of skin. He didn’t focus on the eczema all over his body. He focused on that small little patch. And he gave thanks. That is a great picture and reminder to me to “be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
I am becoming more and more aware that being thankful in all circumstances is a very important key in abiding in Christ. Where will I place my focus? Will I choose to give thanks? How I answer those questions will greatly determine if I am abiding in Christ.
So thanks, Isaac!