A Heart of Thankfulness

thankful heartBy Carey Helmink

I don’t know how you are feeling after the world events of the past few weeks, but I would be very happy if the King of Heaven (and earth) would come soon–in all of His glory–and make all things right. It takes a disciplined mind and heart to keep from becoming fearful and anxious.

One of the disciplines worth cultivating is a heart of thankfulness. A grateful heart in the midst of difficult circumstances can help to lighten the load, and since we are approaching Thanksgiving, I thought I would give you a short, random list of things I am deeply grateful for today.

COLOR

It is staggering to me at times to think about the fact God could just as easily have created the world in black and white. Really. We would never have known the difference. In the spring when everything is coming to life, I am blown away by how many shades of green there are. At this time of the year, not only are there a myriad of colors in the leaves but also many shades of brown. There are endless color combinations that show up in a sunset or a sunrise. Even God’s version of black and white – the stars in the night sky – is beyond beautiful. Or how about the shades of skin color or eye color or hair color – even hair color that comes from a box? I am so thankful for color.

CREATION

Creation is indescribable. From the majesty of the mountains and the crashing of the oceans to the vastness of the Nebraska plains and the very smallest creatures that live on our planet. I have been a country girl all of my life and the beauty of creation ministers to me in ways that few things can.

PEOPLE

Think about the vast array of people you know. Think about the different personalities in your immediate family. Then think beyond that to your extended family. How about to your church family– your life group or the women at your table today? What about the people groups that are represented in Lincoln, the surrounding areas, our state, our country and beyond our borders? And then remember that EVERY person that has ever lived is created in the image of God.

C.S. Lewis says this: “each person is created to see a different facet of God’s beauty – something that no one else can see in quite the same way – and then to bless all worshipers through all eternity with an aspect of God they could not otherwise see.”

Such a great thing to remember when you are in the presence of someone that you are not particularly thankful for. The most annoying, dysfunctional person in your life carries within them the image of God. Amazing.

SLEEP

Some of you young moms feel like you will never get a full night’s rest again, and I have to say – you are probably correct. Those little ones turn into teenagers and then into adults with adult problems, and then you will be menopausal . . . just saying. Sleep may be a bit allusive, but God created rest. And he ministers to us even while we sleep. What a beautiful thought.

Psalm 127:2 says:  It is vain for you to rise up early, retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

MORNING

I am so thankful that every day is a clean slate, a new beginning. Hear with fresh ears these familiar words from Lamentations 3:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh every morning.

 SALVATION (FOR GENTILES)

Romans 9:25-26 say:  Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before…they will be called children of the living God.”

 What would our lives be like if God had not offered salvation to us?

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY

God is in control. Over all. In all. Through all. He has all of the matters of the world in hand as well as the matters of our lives. He has our children, our spouses, our aging parents, our jobs, our health, our finances, our past – He is over it all.

I am so thankful for God’s sovereignty at this moment, but I could walk out of this room and get a phone call that might change how I feel about a God who is in control but allows heartache and illness and tragedy and death.

That’s why I love the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When confronted with their decision not to bow a knee to the gods of Nebuchadnezzar, they don’t back down even though their punishment is imminent. In Daniel 3 they make a staggering statement that paints a picture of the paradox surrounding the sovereignty of God.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods. . . .”

Their unwavering belief in a God who is not only able to save but WILL save them is amazing. Coupled with that conviction is the seeming contradiction that even if God doesn’t save them, they will still remain faithful to him.

I am beyond thankful our God is sovereign. I pray we will be courageous enough to believe he is capable of handling our circumstances. But even when it seems like he’s not, that we will be courageous enough to trust him through it all.

“Your plans are still to prosper.

You have not forgotten us.

You’re with us in the fire and the flood.

You’re faithful forever, perfect in love,

You are sovereign over us.”

 

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