In this world, we will have troubles. We know it. Jesus told us that we would, so that in Him we will have peace. However, we face every day faith shaking troubles, if we have misplaced hope. My faith began to flourish, when my focus changed from earthly blessings to spiritual blessings in Jesus. I sat down and listed out 30 blessings for which I am thankful.
Now, don’t misunderstand. My cup overflows with many physical blessings that God lavishes on the righteous and the unrighteous. I could spend 30 days of thankfulness on just my husband and children. My man is faithful, respectful, and humble. In his humbleness, he has grown both spiritually and emotionally more healthy, and I’ve enjoyed the ride on the crazy Glass roller-coaster of life with him. I’ve seen him fail and get back up again. I’ve seen him overcome through the life giving gospel and be obedient even when the wind was against him. For this and more I am thankful God gave me a faith filled man. We have beautiful children that are a joy to raise. We laugh during the difficult times as they mature into young adults. We’ve cried and overcome many troubles together. I am thankful.
But, at any moment these beautiful gifts from God can change. We are not promised that these gifts will always be there. If my belief that God loves me and blesses me with good gifts hinged only on these, when troubles come my faith will wobble. And it did! When my son died, the Father lovingly allowed grief and sadness to expose some wrong beliefs about His love. As He walked me through truth, my love for Him grew, and more amazing for me, my understanding of His love for me grew.
God does bless us with good things like family, friends, and food. We are far removed from truly being able to appreciate, God sends the rain on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). However, there was a time that if the rains didn’t come, food wasn’t harvested, and people didn’t eat. Mothers saw their babies die in famine (just and unjust).
As I face a new year that may be filled with good rain, too much rain, too little rain, or maybe even no rain, I’m going to focus my thankfulness on how God loves. We quote John 3:16 so often that the life changing truth can get lost in familiarity as we face whatever life throws at us. We may be enticed to believe that God loves more because He’s given all the things we ask for, or we may be deceived to think that He doesn’t love us because He’s allowed something precious to us to be taken away. In either case, John 3:16-17 gives us one truth that never changes.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
How do I know God loves me? Because He gave me Jesus. I’ve given birth to four sons, and, although, I love many deeply, I wouldn’t give even one of them for someone else. I wept bitter tears as I understood not even a fraction of what it must have been like for God to give His Son to die. Through Kai’s death, I learned the agony and pain of losing a son. God gave us His one and only! We must never get over this truth. We can’t let familiarity let us skip over Jesus. God demonstrates His enduring love through Jesus Christ. Let us keep watch that the good things of this life don’t lead us astray thinking that God has demonstrated His love through the beautiful things of this world (husbands, children, good jobs, friends, beautiful homes, …etc.) Even more, may we guard our hearts against believing that troubles of this world demonstrate a lack of love from God.
The Thankfulness Series will be 30 blog posts of praise and thanksgiving for Jesus and how He demonstrates God’s love. When we begin to make Jesus the beginning of why we are thankful, we can broaden our understanding of what it means to be blessed.
I am looking forward to this series. God has demonstrated his love through Jesus, and I am thankful. May your faith be strengthened and made firm through the power of God’s love for you in Christ Jesus.