Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thank God-ism: The Africa Series

I don't know much Sango - only a few phrases, really. But you begin to pick up on words and phrases when you hear them over and over again. One such phrase for me: "Merci Nzapa" or "Thank you God".

It seemed as if EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION included this phrase many times. Instead of responding to someone else's thought by saying "uh-huh" or "yeah" or "interesting", Central African's often replied with "Merci Nzapa". God gets credit for EVERY. GOOD. THING.

These people are among the poorest of the poor, yet have a perspective of gratitude towards God, in all things. Death, is a normal part of life for them. Suffering, hunger, tragedy - all every day occurences for many of them. Yet, they are constantly focused on HOW GOOD GOD is.

One man shared with us that he had just received word that a child living in his home (an orphan he had taken in) was hit by a motorcycle that day. She had injured her leg and was going to a "hospital" to be looked at. His first response after stating the facts: "Merci Nzapa..." because it could have been a lot worse.

It's easy for us to be pessimists at times. We think that life is pretty tough. Yet here in America, life ain't so bad. I like to encourage people to be optimists. Yet, I'm learning that maybe "just optimism" isn't enough. What if we were simply "Thank God-ists" - always grateful for who He is and what He's doing.

As a matter of chat...

What, in this very moment, are you grateful to God for? On your worst day in the past year, was there still things to be thankful for? How can you make sure you have an attitude of gratitude? What is distracting you or blinding you from being as grateful as you should be?