I had a moment this week when I was overwhelmed with immense gratitude. Maybe there were several moments leading up to this, but one moment in particular gave me again a glimpse of that for which I am most thankful.
This week I celebrated the anniversary of when I decided to follow Jesus as my Lord and my Savior. It’s been half of my life now that I have been following Him. Although I don’t think it is necessary to know the day or even week that this happened, I am still thankful to have a date to celebrate. I know the date because it was tied to an event for which I still have the flyer.
There was so much I didn’t understand. So much I didn’t know. So much I didn’t grasp, yet. However what I did know was that I couldn’t deny my need for Jesus. I couldn’t deny everyone’s need for Jesus. The need remained whether I did something about it or not. So I responded. I made the decision that I would begin to follow Him. I asked Him for forgiveness for sin, recognized my need for a Savior, asked Him to be Lord over my life, and asked Him to help me learn what all of that meant.
I didn’t realize it right then, but my life would never be the same. It would be better. Not free from trouble or pain, but now full of hope and love and peace. The falling in love process began. I began to fall in love with the Lord who loved me more than anyone else could. I began to see evidence of this love and feel the strength and peace of this love.
As the years have gone by He has continued to prove Himself faithful. I don’t always understand or even like His ways, but when I decide to trust Him anyway, He gives me the grace and peace to know that He will take care of His children. This doesn’t always look like I think it should, but the more I see the more I am reminded that I am not God. He is. This is good for everyone. He does a much better job at knowing what is best than I ever could, although there are times when I do think I am pretty clever.
I was reading in the book of Jonah this week, from the Old Testament of the Bible, and these two verses stood out to me perhaps like never before:
“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ ” (Jonah 2:8,9 NIV)
This made me think of those I love who don’t see their need for Jesus. We were made to worship, so we are either worshipping the One True God or a worthless idol. I know this is not something people like to believe. There are many who will preach that there is no absolute truth. This idea takes more faith than believing in One True God. The very statement that there is “no absolute truth,” is subject to scrutiny under the “no absolute truth” perspective.
In other words if a person says to me, “There is no absolute truth,” my question is then, “Well, what about the statement you just made then?”
I have found again and again that what I believe is true beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s not about what I believe though. Truth is truth whether I believe it or not. Thinking about this and mulling it over is what overwhelms me with gratitude. I could be one who turns away from God’s love for me, but by His grace and mercy He helped me see His truth and surrender to Him. This should be a very humbling and powerful realization that compels me to praise Him with grateful praise! I’m thankful for His grace to receive His love rather than turn away from it!
Furthermore this praise that wells up inside must come out and overflow with love and gracious kindness onto others. They need to know, too! What joy comes from following Jesus! What incredible life!
In recent years, one of my favorite hymns has become, ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus by Louisa Stead and William Kirkpatrick. Here are the lyrics:
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take Him at His word;
just to rest upon His promise, and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!
O how sweet to trust in Jesus, just to trust His cleansing blood;
and in simple faith to plunge me neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus, just from sin and self to cease;
just from Jesus simply taking life and rest, and joy and peace.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, precious Jesus, Savior, friend;
and I know that Thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end.
So here I am. Thankful. Renewed by His grace and love. Ready to continue to follow Him and know His peace, receive His guidance, and rest in His saving grace. God, thank You!