Psalm 103:1-2 AMP
Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name! Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and forget [not one] of all His benefits.
Towards the end of a year, usually thanksgiving fills the air. Most Pastors shift to giving thanks for the Lord’s goodness throughout the year. Of course we are all grateful for all He has done. This year is no exception to the rule. Thanksgiving is in the air, yet again. Like I always say, I have been in the Lord for a while. So I have come through many years of giving thanks at year end. However, before now, I just went through the motions.
Don’t get me wrong, I was always grateful, because everything that looks good in my life is as a direct result of God’s goodness to me. But I took His goodness to me for granted. I was never as grateful as I should be. I never really stopped to see what He was doing. My life was a list of milestones. Once we crossed one, I would say a careless thank you and move on to the next. I did that, without really stopping to understand the magnitude of His goodness to me.
However, this year 2013, I am different. I am looking closely and I see so much. I don’t just see what He has done but I appreciate the magnitude, because I now realize how life would have been if He had not done them. I understand that He was not under any obligation to do them, even if I prayed, but He did them anyway simply because He loves me. It is not just about houses, cars, clothes, food, children, bills paid and milestones crossed but about a loving Father who has always wanted to give me these things.
So this year, I am thankful from a different perspective. I am thankful for His great love for me. I am thankful for the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. I am thankful that it all began with that day 25 years ago when I received the gift of salvation. I realize that from that day, I signed up for a life of true fulfillment. I realize that my life is a beautiful set up for His constant goodness and mercy. I understand that everything that has happened in my life, both good and bad, were part of a huge picture of my life that God has put in place. I am thankful for the hope that I have in Him that my life will be absolutely alright.
I am thankful for these things because I now understand that the manifestation of His goodness in my life is borne out of these things. He does not just bless me with stuff. There are underlying motivations that make Him bless me- His love for me, His perfect plan for me, His great thoughts towards me, His everlasting commitment to make all things work together for my good. That is why I can say thank you for stuff, because I know where they emanate from. That has put my thankfulness on a new level. My ‘thank you’ this year is laced by love that He has put in my heart for Him, humility that feels like Him, just because I now understand. It makes all the difference. I am thankful for so many things but most of all I am thankful for Him-who He has been, who He is, who He will always be. I am thankful for Jesus.
It is similar to how we feel about our parents after we become parents and have walked in their shoes. I remember, my Dad used to take me to school and bring me back every day until I was about 12, after I entered secondary school. At some point, we lived at the end of Adeniyi Jones in Ikeja and school was in University of Lagos, right across town. The road network is nothing like it is now. It was grueling and tasking for him but he did it anyway. For those of you in Lagos, you will understand. Now I have to pick up my children and I realize it was a huge sacrifice. He did it because he wanted us to go to good schools which were not close by. Now I am who I am by virtue of the quality of education I got from him. But I never really understood till I started the runs myself. Now I know better. I had the humility to tell him so in one of my messages to him on Father’s Day.
Someone may read this and not feel so thankful because you assume He has done more for me than you. It is not the magnitude but His goodness in doing the bit He has done. Don’t for one second imagine my life is perfect, but I am so sure things can only get better when I see how far He has brought me. That is why I can be so thankful. Just pause for a moment and look closely, then you will see exactly what I see-His love and commitment to you. Don’t take those little things for granted. Imagine life without them so you can be thankful. Stop looking for the next big thing. Savor all He has done already. It is not just what He has given you, what about the things He has enabled you to do for others. Imagine what life would have for you and them if you had not done them. It is not just what He has done for you but what He has done in you. Remember how you were and what you have become. There is so much to be thankful for. Thank Him for the glorious future He has planned for you-all those dreams and aspirations, who do you think put them there?
Folks, I am so grateful that every time I raise my voice in worship and thanksgiving, tears fill my eyes. As I type my thanks, my eyes fill with tears. I want to imagine what life would have been like if He had not shown up in the little and big things. 2013 feels like five years rolled into one. Please join me to truly thank Him, for He is indeed faithful and His mercies endure forever. Ck