Just Where Did This Year Go?
The cliché that “time goes fast when you are having fun” does not apply, not really, not this year. There has been fun, blessings, one after another, but the challenges have been big and hard and the time has still flown by. And yes, I am getting older so that happens.
Things I am grateful for, things I give thanks for:
Jesus – always the same…Hebrews 3:8
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever.”
Family – my parents, my husband, my children and grandchildren, by biology and by marriage, the loves of my life, the joys of my heart
Church – the community I serve Jesus with, not perfect, just forgiven sinners, of which I am one
Work – my employer and co-workers – through whom God provides for my financial needs
There’s this running list of gifts, things I am thankful for, that I have been keeping since reading Ann Voscamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts.” I highly recommend it. This book changed my life.
This morning, I was at 9,839. For example, one of my entries is “finding my lost glove” while another is “the multitudes of birds, gathering, swooping, creating pictures in the skies.” Every single entry, a grace from God, a gift. I could write “breath after breath,” because I am not promised an unlimited number of those.
I consider my initial list the BIG ones. Jesus, family, church, work, to list a few. But really, we have no idea what an impact there might be from seemingly small, insignificant “things.” The parking place that shows up at the perfect time, the text when you were feeling down, the unbelievably gorgeous sunset. To look for things to thank God for should really not take very long. He is everywhere, showing His love and care.
Now for the hard stuff. How can I be thankful for things that feel like a kick in my gut and every time I think of them, fear initiates a release of adrenalin that I can’t outrun? Again I go back to Ann’s book and her teaching about eurcharisteo…
“This is the crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks, eucharisteo.
“Why? Why is remembering and giving thanks the core of the Christ-faith? Because remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust – to really believe.” Ann Voscamp, One Thousand Gifts
As I go back through my list, as I sometimes do, I see how the tough stuff yielded great things. For my good, for His glory. Remembering and giving thanks builds trust, builds faith. And this mountain that is in front of me right now, will one day be behind me. God will have moved it because that is what he does when we use but a little of that Christ-faith.
“…for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move: and nothing will be impossible for you.” Jesus, Matthew 17:20
So here we have it, nothing happens without faith, and faith grows with the thankful remembering. I don’t want to be thankful for hard things, for things that cause me anxiety. But I have to realize that without the thanksgiving, the prayer won’t contain all the elements that bring the peace.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I am not going to understand it, and that’s okay because peace doesn’t need to be understood, it just needs to be felt. And the racing heart, and the twitching and tremors calm, and I’ve actually thanked God for something I never dreamed I would have to face in my lifetime. I can see how my big stuff is small stuff for the God of the Universe. He can do anything. His throne in the heavens will never be moved by anything that can happen here. And I am His. This peace is like a soldier that stands guard at the doors of my heart and mind, to protect them, to keep them safe from any harm that might come knocking.
And this mountain, all of our mountains, can be reasons for thanksgiving. And really, if there isn’t one in our lives right now, are we clinging to Jesus, abiding in Him and growing our faith? It almost makes me want to pray, “Lord, show me another mountain!” But I’m not brave enough for that, not yet.
Yes, this year has flown, because on this side of heaven our days come and go and we are powerless to slow anything down. Time is too short to worry and fret about things we have no control over. It is too short to live thankless and hopeless. Give this a try: the next mountain you face, say to yourself:
“I am going to give thanks to God for this and be open to how He will use it to grow my faith.”
If you are like me, every, single, day – you will have to remember this commitment. Because, every day, that affirmation will be tried. Fears will come, new facts may surface that threaten your peace. You will have to hold fast to the promises in the Bible. God will honor them. If there is anything I know for sure, He will be faithful. You can most certainly give thanks for that.