When it comes to being thankful, and I am glad that we have Thanksgiving Day to spur us to thankfulness, I am a blessed man who has all the usual suspects to be thankful for. I am so grateful to have the salvation that only Jesus could give. I have an awesome wife, six wonderful children, great parents, a good church to attend, true friends. As a bonus, I have been called into the ministry. I have been healthy my whole life. I have never missed a meal or lacked a roof over my head.
But I want to look deeper this year, past those wonderful things I list every year.
1. The Lord has given His grace to me.
As years accumulate, I find that grace is greater than I ever realized, and that I have needed and have been given more grace than I ever dreamed. My abilities are less than I imagined, my strengths are laced with weakness, my gifts were given rather than earned. With this realization of need, I too can see the lavish grace God gives me. It is ever present and writes the better parts of my story.
2. The Lord has forgiven me.
My sin comes ever more into focus. The scope of my sin, frankly, shocks me. As I see it more for what it is, I treasure forgiveness more. I think too of how far reaching this forgiveness really is. It is permanent and won’t desert me. Its depth reaches deeper than my worst as Christ’s sacrifice more than earns all the forgiveness I need.
3. The Lord has been gentle with me.
He would have been within a holy God’s right to have been hard on me, even righteous, but He has been so otherwise. “Like as a father pitieth his child” has never been more true than in my case. He has led me along slowly, carefully, and patiently.
4. The Lord has corrected and molded me.
Strangely, I vividly remember years ago thinking when I heard the song “Thank You For The Valley I Walk Through Today” how ridiculous that was and how no one could even sincerely mean it. I have learned, though I still try to dodge all valleys, that both trials and chastenings have propelled me in life. It was never punishment, just help. Help I needed and received. It is good.
5. The Lord has given me love.
I know how trite we can be when we speak of God’s love. Still, the single greatest thing in my existence is that God loves me. It has redeemed my past, defined my present, and made my future. His love was there before I even considered it. His love came to me before I even knew what love was. His love possessed me when I had none to give back for it. In fact, after giving me love, He
taught is teaching me how to love. In the final analysis, there is nothing as great as being loved.
As you might imagine, I sometimes struggle with thankfulness. But as you can see here, it is never over lack of material to be thankful for.