We've released a new version of SermonCentral! Read the release notes here.
Text Illustrations
HOW TO GIVE THANKS IN THE MIDST OF LOSS


When you've lost something or someone precious, it is easy to forget that "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away." He doesn't owe us a reason.


John Claypool was a pastor in Louisville, Kentucky many years ago. He and his wife lost their daughter, Laura Lou, to leukemia. He later explained his loss by telling a story from his childhood.


During WWII his family didn't own a washing machine, and since gas was rationed, they couldn't afford to drive to a laundry. Keeping their clothes clean became a challenge. John's neighbor went into the service and his wife moved in with her family. They offered to let John's family use their Bendix wringer washer while they were gone. They reasoned it would be better for it to be used than to sit rusting on the porch.


John helped with the family's laundry, and he said he developed a fondness for that old green Bendix. When the war ended his neighbors returned, and they reclaimed their washing machine. Over the course of the war, young John had actually forgotten the machine was loaned to them, so when the neighbors removed it, John was upset and angry that they would take his washing machine. His mother sat him down and said, "John, you must remember that the washing machine never belonged to us in the first place. That we ever got to use it at all was a gift. So, instead of being mad at it being taken away, let us use this as an occasion to be thankful that we ever had it at all."


John Claypool would say years later he struggled with the death of eight-year-old Laura Lou, until he remembered that old green Bendix. He wrote: "When I remember that Laura Lou was a gift, pure and simple, something I neither earned nor deserved nor had a right to; and when I remember that the appropriate response to a gift, even when it is taken away, is gratitude, then I am better able to try and thank God that I was ever given her in the first place." (Steps of a Fellow Struggler)


That's exactly how Job felt. He knew every good thing in his life had come from God, and God had the right to take anything away. That's the kind of attitude that will keep you from becoming bitter when you face loss.


(From a sermon by Fred Markes, Praise God, 8/30/2011)

Related Text Illustrations

Related Sermons