My whole family gathered around the table to celebrate my Father's birthday. His favorite cake was passed around as laughter rippled down the long table. Yet, one person could not be there: my Dad.
Honoring his memory that evening was my Mother's idea. She wished for each of the grandkids to share a happy time they remembered with him. Some were too young when he passed to know him, except through the eyes of others and pictures that hung on the wall. Many positive things were said. I am grateful for that focus.
See, my Father got many things wrong, but he got the most important thing right. He said yes to Jesus many years ago. I have no idea who I would be today if it were not for this decision he made. I do not agree with a lot of choices he made after that, but I choose not to let that be my focus. I am eternally thankful that he followed his heart and found the cross.
When I dwell on what is going wrong around me, my downturned eyes and heart make it difficult to praise my maker. Freedom comes when I turn to thankfulness, and joy quickly follows.
Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it. (Proverbs 11:27 NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
So, in memory of my Dad and his love of fishing, I commit to:
Cast all [my] anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for [me]. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
And I will reel in joy, peace, and thankfulness.
Jesus, thank you for orchestrating the events of my life as you have. You have all wisdom and knowledge far beyond my understanding. Help me as I continue to give you my cares and receive your peace. Amen.