“It’s not easy to be joyful in this life. Our emotions at times can seem to control us, but the one thing that our emotions and life circumstances cannot take away is our future. Hell has been defeated and heaven has been won, it is guaranteed, so we have a whole eternity of blessing to be thankful for.”
(Jordan Standridge – The Cripplegate) There was a beeping sound that wouldn’t stop.
I mean, what kind of restaurant would seat a party of eight next to this unceasing, annoying sound?
Here we were in an airport terminal. Eating at a nice chain restaurant. And I couldn’t stop complaining in my mind about this nagging sound.
We had just spent a week in a communist country where people have practically nothing. One of our translators, who was a well-known teacher, told us that his average salary was around $30 a month for 30 years. And here I am chewing on my overpriced cheeseburger and complaining about this sound that the waiter and restaurant wouldn’t turn off.
It was a shocking reminder about how quickly my heart turns to complaining.
Thankfulness is not a natural feeling. It is something that results from a heart transformed by God. Of course, anyone can experience thankfulness, but believers can experience a different kind of thankfulness, a deeper kind because we don’t limit our thankfulness to this life but to eternity.
Christians know that ultimately we deserve hell.
The fact that we are not in hell right now is an incredible mercy of God. I’m not talking about hell once you die at an old age, but right now. We deserve to be in Hell right now. This is a deeper thankfulness than worldly thankfulness. Most people will tell you “you should be thankful because there are people around the world with less than you have,” or “you should be thankful because there are people who have worse problems than you have,” and though that may be true and may help you be a more positive person, that is shallow depth. We are talking about you not burning for eternity even though you deserve it.Christians know that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23a) and that for each individual sin we deserve eternal punishment. In other words, we have millions of eternal life counts against us, and yet, because of the mercy of God (Eph. 2:4), we won’t spend even a millisecond being punished for our sin. This Thanksgiving, you can be thankful for the incredible mercy God has shown you, not only for not punishing you instantly for your sin but for taking hell off the table entirely.