Gratitude has never been a tough concept for me. Our blessings can best be understood when we contrast them to our difficulties, and I have been fortunate enough to have been entrusted with a number of challenges throughout my life.
For instance, I can appreciate having plenty to eat because I have known hunger. I’ve been the one scavenging through trash cans for recently discarded leftovers and feasting on the out-of-date food others didn’t want to risk. I can appreciate warm clothes after I spent a winter with no coat or gloves and no heat in my home. After coming face-to-face with death several times, I cherish the good health I now enjoy. The loneliness and isolation I felt as the ultra shy kid in school reminds me to celebrate the joy of the numerous and deep friendships that I treasure now.
I could bore you with more details from my life, but the truth is, we all share similar stories. We’ve all suffered; we all bare scars, our tattoos of life. But these very things that have caused us so much pain, have also brought us to our knees and brought our hearts to a place of thanksgiving.
And so it is with our salvation. Had salvation been something thrust upon us in our infancy we would hardly have the same gratitude for it. But because our wise Father allows us the beautiful gift of free will, we have all had to bear the consequences of our choices, and we have all experienced what a life apart from Him is like.
Oh, but this is the beauty of grace! He gives us the strength to choose Him and abide with Him! We know the misery and emptiness of life without God. We can truly appreciate the gift that our salvation is. There can be no greater gratitude than that of the redeemed for their Savior! Talk about Thanksgiving!
So this year, there are many things I am thankful for. I am grateful for everything from decaf coffee to my new church family. But more than anything, I’m thankful for a God who intercedes. I’m thankful for a God who created a rebellious little high-tech redneck girl like me and loves me enough to give His only Son to die for my sins. Now that is something to celebrate!