Clark is a dear friend and collaborator in ministry. He’s just one all-around amazing guy. We’ve had some great adventures together over the years.
Right now he is battling cancer. I’m learning so much about gratitude from him right now.
I often get so knocked off track by little frustrations in my day. Little things bug me and I get stressed out, judgmental, and I start to wonder why God can’t just clear up the messes piling up around me.
Clark has had a number of health setbacks over the past couple of years. He’s had some surgeries and radiation and chemotherapy to treat cancer. And cancer is just one cruel demon. Seriously evil. It is not fun to watch a friend go through that hell.
But despite the painful procedures, the hospital visits, and the side-effects – Clark keeps an incredible posture of thankfulness toward God. It just doesn’t make sense.
I was sitting with him in the office the other day. Tears welled up in his eyes as he began to recount all of the gifts God had given him. He was overwhelmed by gratitude for his marriage, family, God’s forgiveness and salvation, and the opportunity to serve God in fulfilling ministry over the years.
Here he was being knocked and battered by painful health problems – yet still genuinely overwhelmed by God’s gifts. He wasn’t glossing over things or spitting out trite sayings. The mercy and grace and gifts of God were his hidden reservoir. Again, it didn’t make sense. And yet it did make sense.
It made my griping and internal conversations seem so petty.
I’m trying to do less of asking God to just clear up the messes and fix my day (although there is still plenty of that). I’m trying instead to turn my attention to gratitude for the very real and undeserved gifts of God all around me.
I don’t know what’s ahead for my friend Clark. We keep praying and trusting that God can heal him of cancer. I know that sometimes God does heal people. But then again, sometimes he doesn’t. That uncertainty doesn’t seem to ultimately phase Clark. Clark is just plain grateful.
That gratitude makes me so grateful for a friend like Clark.