Army

December 6, 2012

Learning to give thanks comes through difficulty

Chaplain (Maj.) David Schlichter
Family Life Chaplain

Learning new things has not always been easy for me, and learning to be thankful was a lesson that came through difficulty. Many years ago, during a challenging time in my life, a mentor led me to read a book that changed my life. It was the classic, “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

The story is about Ivan, a Soviet gulag prisoner. It reads like a diary, or twitter, of the details during his day. The conditions were similar to a Holocaust concentration camp, where many froze to death during the night, and others died of disease and malnutrition.

As I read the book, I remember having to take breaks, because I would find myself in a dark, depressive state. I was unable to read this account and not consider my own life. Ivan felt blessed to have been able to sit and eat his breakfast. He was able to steal an additional minute or two at the worksite fire and warm himself from the bitter cold. At the end of the day, for some reason, he was given an extra portion of bread, which led to a dilemma as to eat it before it was stolen or the rats found it, or to save it and enjoy it as long as he could.

I soon found that I had no reason to complain, and my difficulties were nothing but inconveniences at best. I was renewed in this reprioritization upon redeployment from Iraq. Life is precious and I am truly blessed. However, I think the reality is that I have learned to see, even look for, the blessings given me instead of looking at the negative around me. I’ve learned that I will see what I look for.

Saint Paul is telling us the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It is important that we understand what he is saying. He says, give thanks IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. In all conditions in which we find ourselves, we CAN give thanks for God’s constant presence.

Remember Psalm 23, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Even there, in the valley, we are not alone, forgotten or hopeless. God is with us.

As I look at American culture, we are not taught how to be thankful very well. Normally there is a polite ‘thank you’ shared, but this is not the true concern. The real issue is a heart condition, and the heart condition of our culture says, “Give me more” or “I deserve more; I am entitled.” I thank God that HE has not given us what we truly deserve, but HIS mercy gives us what HE “showers” upon us. A heart condition is changed in part to a new head knowledge that, when applied, will bring a life change.

Have you learned well to be thankful for what you do have? Are you sleeping with rats tonight? Have you eaten today and are you fully clothed? Is anyone shooting at you today? Friend, we don’t have to look far to see what we do have. Be blessed and be thankful this season.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

FH renewable energy project to provide approximately 25 percent of installation’s annual electricity requirement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Army announced Monday plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25 percent of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca. “This will be the largest solar array in the Department of Defense on a military installation,” according to the Honorable Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary...
 
 

Whistleblower reprisal — what it is, isn’t

Many people who observe or learn of wrongdoing are often afraid to report it because they fear that if the word got out, negative action would be taken against them. In order for the office of the Inspector General, or IG, to provide assistance, it is important that the Fort Huachuca community fully understand what...
 
 
U.S. Army

Military Intelligence – Moment in MI history

Field Station Augsburg established in 1970 U.S. Army The enormous AN/FLR-9 “Elephant Cage” antenna array was erected at Field Station Augsburg in Germany. April 14, 1970 In 1970, the nation’s attention was focused on Viet...
 

 
Maranda Flynn

EPG celebrates 60 years, new small arc structure dedicated

Maranda Flynn From left, Rob Reiner, former Electronic Proving Ground technical director, Eddie Flores, EPG’s youngest employee, and Maj. Gen. Peter Utley, commanding general, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, cut the ca...
 
 
Gordon Van Vleet

NETCOM gains new commander during ceremony here Wednesday

Gordon Van Vleet Brig. Gen. Peter A. Gallagher, outgoing NETCOM Commanding General, passes the NETCOM flag to Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, Army Cyber Command/2d U.S. Army Commanding General, while incoming NETCOM commanding gener...
 
 

Army tightens personal appearance, tattoo policy

WASHINGTON — The number, size and placement of tattoos have been dialed back under revised Army Regulation 670-1, which governs the Army’s grooming standards and proper wear of the uniform. The revised regulation was published Monday, along with Department of the Army Pamplet 670-1, outlining the new standards. Effective dates for the various changes can...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin