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  • Eric Rutherford

How to Be Grateful When Plans Fail (cultivating an attitude of gratitude)

When you flush the toilet and water seeps out the bottom while water shoots up from the shower drain, you know something is not working properly. Needless to say, last Wednesday did not go as I initially planned.

I worked on the toilet for two evenings and was ready to call the plumber, when the Lord answered my prayer and the toilet finally worked properly. I flushed it a few more times and it still drained (as did the shower). I was pumped!

As I cleaned up the bathroom and put all of the tools away, I reflected on the whole event. I saw God at work through this process, even though I may not have seen it in the midst of the issue.

First, I never lost my temper. I was frustrated and tired, but I did not lash out. I have struggled with anger, and this situation was a prime opportunity for it show itself, but it did not occur. I can only attribute the change to the power of the Holy Spirit sanctifying me, so I thanked the Lord for His continued work in my life.

Second, I was thankful for the gift and blessing of a toilet that did not work. The toilet ultimately would be fixable even if I had to call the plumber (not having to call the plumber saved a chunk of money, which is a third blessing). Our home has two and a half bathrooms, which means three toilets, so we were inconvenienced, not totally without a toilet.

The majority of people on this earth do not have indoor plumbing, nor do they have an indoor toilet. I had the opportunity to go to West Africa for a mission trip, and there in the villages, people had a hole in the ground for a toilet. Missionaries we helped and visited had upgraded by cutting the bottom out of an old bucket and securing a toilet seat to the top of it to place over the hole. Water came from a well in the village, so water had to be carried in buckets--it did not run to any home.

All of these things flashed through my mind as I cleaned up the bathroom, and God left me with a question: How am I cultivating a grateful heart? How has the Lord changed me over the last year in my attitudes, actions, and faith?

I will leave you with those same questions too: how are you cultivating a grateful heart? How has the Lord changed you over the last year?

P.S. Check out my new book, Leading Well at Home: How Husbands and Fathers Can Biblically Lead Their Families. It is available for purchase in my store at

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