Thank You Jesus
Gratitude. It comes easily when things are going well. Thank you, Lord, for the promotion…the vacation…the obedient kids…good health…when everything on the list is neatly checked off. But, what about when life isn’t so neatly wrapped up with a bow on top? When there is no promotion, but a loss of a job? When there is no money for a vacation, or even to pay the bills? When the kids are having a rough day and so is their mom? When the doctor gives the diagnosis? When we feel like we’re drowning in expectations and responsibilities? Or, what every person has experienced lately—when a pandemic is no longer “on the other side of the world”, but is knocking on our front doors? How can we find peace, let alone gratitude, in such circumstances?
I believe that there is one and only one answer to that question, and his name is Jesus. He loved you and I enough to give us a free gift that supersedes everything else in our lives—the good and the bad. Everything in life pales in comparison with the hope of eternal life we have in Him, if we choose to receive this incredible gift.
You see, even on our best day—the day that is going great AND the day that we do everything “right”—we are still deserving of a terrible fate. Romans 3:23 says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And, Romans 6:23 follows that thought by telling us that “the wages of sin is death”. I know you must be thinking, “this doesn’t sound like reason for gratitude at all!” But, there’s more. That’s not the end of the story. Jesus left the glories of Heaven to live among us, gave His life on a cruel cross to carry the heavy burden of our sin, and He paid the price for our sin! He rose again, and gives us freedom from sin, from death! In light of this, we can have nothing but gratitude! This gospel message is my reason for gratitude, and it can be yours too.
Milton Vincent, in his book The Gospel Primer, speaks this truth in an incredible way:
“The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.
Viewing life’s blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly, the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this.
The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath. This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me. That God, in fact, has given me a cup that is full of ‘every spiritual blessing in Christ’ and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve…
…I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment…Second, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life’s blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.)”
I truly do not think I could have true gratitude without Jesus and the gospel message that has saved my soul. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15) Now, that is amazing GRACE!