At this time of year we hear a lot of people talking about the things that they are thankful for. And rightfully so. Thanksgiving is usually time we reflect on the good things in our lives. It might be family. Perhaps friends. Maybe finances or health. Sometimes we find ourselves blessed with great friends, family, finances and health. However, more often we are hoping and praying for improvement in one or more of these areas of life. But we are still truly thankful for God’s blessings in other ways – big or small – in our individual circumstances.
As for me, when I thought about blogging on “Thankfulness,” my mind went to the bigger picture. Rather than write about some particular aspect of family life that I’m thankful for, or a particularly successful outcome to a situation in a client’s case I’ve been working on, I thought about how thankful I am to have a relationship with God. So much so that I have a hard time putting that sense of gratitude into words. To say that I am “thankful” or “grateful” or “amazed by” the love of God are all nice, but inadequate expressions.
I consider often the verse from 1 John 4:8 that reads: “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” I know God. Ever since October 21, 1979 (when I surrendered my life to Jesus) I have known God. Before that I was somewhere between atheist and skeptic, but certainly nowhere close to believing in God. And sadly many believe in but do not know God. I believe the Grand Canyon exists, but I’ve never taken the time to go there. Looking at pictures in books or online cannot move me like actually being there. Just as people who know me, know of my love for Yosemite. It looks beautiful in pictures, and you can know about it by reading articles and looking at pictures of Yosemite. But until you’ve been there, you cannot possibly begin to appreciate how incredible it is.
And so it is with God. I had heard of Him and been told of His love for many years. But it was not until I fully accepted the fact that Jesus, as God’s son, gave his life to have a relationship with me (and all those who would believe in Him) did I begin to understand that God is love. I am thankful beyond words for the fact that He is love. All of creation reflects this simple fact. And what is most incredible is the fact that this loving God would desire to live in and through me. There is nothing better. No amount of money. No level of health and fitness. No closeness of family and friends could ever possibly match the joy that comes from knowing that every moment that I live, God loves me. He is love. Because He is, and because He has revealed Himself to me in such a way that I can say that I know God, I am more thankful than I can possibly tell you. And it is my sincere prayer that those of you who do not know God, but have read this far, will do as I did. Ask God to reveal himself to you. Jesus stands at the door of your life knocking. If you will only open the door to let Him in, you can be sure that He will make Himself known to you as He has made himself known to me. Then you too can proclaim that you know God and that you know, as I do, that God is love.