The Thankful Heart
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The soft plaster and drywall underneath the dining room window should have motivated a response long before the decay forced me to provide one. The hidden water damage was discovered shortly after moving into our family home in 2007, but it was an easily ignored nuisance in an under-used room. As a 29-year-old father with a pregnant wife, full-time job, and graduate school course load, there were more pressing matters at hand. At the time, I did not expect a delayed reaction to also include spiritual consequences.
Fast-forward to November of 2018 (yep, over a decade later) when an attempt to be a 40-year-old handyman resulted in an onion-peeling experience revealing just how serious decades of a small water offensive could be. As the baseboards disintegrated while prying them loose, the crumbling drywall exposed many completely rotted 2x4s that framed the window. This was an unwelcome nightmare of a problem to face right before Thanksgiving. Suddenly, gratitude and thankfulness were not residing in my heart. Hope had taken a serious hit as the holiday season would now kick off at a $2,000.00 deficit because of this unplanned repair expense.
I wish I could say that I immediately recognized this situation as an attempt by the enemy to steal my joy and peace. If only I had just shrugged it off and called the contractor without being stressed, frustrated, and even angry. The emotions of, “Why now?” and “Why me?” were overwhelming and my heart was way off from the appropriate place for the season of gratefulness. A focus on circumstances resulted in a hopelessly negative and defeated attitude.
In the same way, circumstances in today’s world can seem oppressive. Most of us are experiencing the pinch of finances in response to rising inflation. Political division is invading almost every facet of life. The government, media, and entertainment industries are racing to indoctrinate our children to abandon any semblance of a God-fearing existence. Hope is at a premium. Thankfulness is elusive. Circumstances appear bleak.
As Christians, we cannot afford to lose hope. We must prioritize gratefulness. In this, God’s word is clear:
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15, CSB).
Our hearts are our religious center. If we profess faith in Christ, He is therefore the cornerstone of our existence. Revering Christ naturally results in unending gratitude on our part, but also as the Scripture states, be prepared to share our hope. But we cannot share what we do not possess.
This world is in chaos. People are in pain. Christians must be the ambassadors of hope. We are to be a beacon of light amidst this darkness. Faith in Jesus Christ gives us more to be thankful for this season above any circumstance the world can throw at us. People are desperate for this hope. We have it. We must live in it. We must offer hope.
As we scurry through the holidays experiencing heightened stress and busyness, encountering challenges and frustrations in our paths, stop and reflect on God’s Word. Does your heart revere Christ as Lord? Is Jesus your center? If this is true, the way you live your life will attract attention. Those around you will notice your hope, so much so that they will ask, "How is it possible?" Are you prepared to give the reason for the hope that you have?
My dining room window was reframed. New drywall, plaster, and paint have been applied. Rehabilitation has occurred. Life is full of frustrations, challenges, and disappointments, but God is a God of restoration. He is calling us to live beyond our circumstances so that we can be sources of hope. Don’t let the discouraging situations of life rob you of a heart of thankfulness. Be grateful for hope. Share it. When people ask how you do it, be ready to give your answer this season and beyond.
Scripture is quoted from the Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.
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