Serendipity and Gratitude

This devotional, written by long-time church member, Joyce Lebra, is from the devotional archives. It was first published on May 9, 2018. Joyce passed away on October 10, 2021, at the age of 93.


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By: Joyce Lebra

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

I knew a Kahuna on Maui, a traditional Hawaiian priest, who was also an excellent artist, a painter. He told me he feels gratitude all day, every day. He also said that he can manifest things. For example, one day he was at the beach but it was so crowded that he was not really enjoying it. He wished that it would not be so crowded. Soon after he had this wish, a windstorm blew sand everywhere and people drifted away until he was alone. He got his wish.

While it is not my goal to manifest things in this sense, he reminded me of the importance of feeling and expressing gratitude. I know that I have had many blessings in my life, perhaps due to just luck, but more probably from a divine source. I am aware of this and remind myself daily how blessed I have been.

At times I have encountered challenges and difficulties that I had no clue how to overcome. For example, during my first year of research in India I was so ill all year that I was not sure I would leave alive, or if I would be able to complete my research. If I did, I told myself that I would never return to India. When I did leave I had lost twenty pounds and appeared as if I had been in a concentration camp. But, with more blessings, I was able to complete my research and have returned many times to India for further research in more compatible surroundings.

At each stage of my working life I have been blessed so that one project led almost directly to yet another. Something was definitely facilitating my work from one stage to the next in a continuum that seemed to flow smoothly. I am constantly grateful for the assistance from whatever source that has accompanied me on my long odyssey.

I daily give thanks for my many blessings. Each morning and evening I need to remind myself to be grateful, give thanks in prayer. I try to give back by giving voice to the voiceless and suppressed historically.

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