I had the privilege of reading the birth story of a friend of mine today. I knew bits and pieces of her story, but I had never heard it told from beginning to end, all the details included. As I read her story, I was moved to tears at the courage through struggles, the faith, and the joys that came from patient endurance. I didn’t know her during that time of her life. All I see now is an amazing mother who takes pleasure in the tiny details of her son’s life. I see a mother who makes every occasion a special occasion. I see a mother who savors every moment with her son in a way I don’t see with many moms. I always wondered where that behavior came from. She seemed like Wonder Mother to me. Now I know why. She is operating in an attitude of gratitude. The struggles, the challenges, the utter fear she faced giving birth to her son also birthed a deep gratitude in her that I don’t even know she’s fully aware of. But those of us who know her see the fruit of it.
It got me thinking about my walk with Christ. It got me thinking about the repercussions of walking a life of daily thankfulness for what we have in Him. What if we savored every moment with Him? What if we paid attention to every detail of His? What if we cherished every moment we had with Him? What if we made every deal a big deal, every moment a special moment, every day as if it was the last? How much deeper would our faith be? How much happier would we be? How much more blessed, more fulfilled, more joyful would we be?
My friend doesn’t know it, but she has inspired me to live like she does.
It reminded me of the scripture of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet. In a nutshell, Jesus was having dinner with a pharisee when a sinful woman showed up unannounced. She brought a beautiful jar filled with very expensive perfume, so expensive it cost a year’s salary. She knelt at Jesus’ feet, wept, kissed them, and poured her perfume on them. The Pharisee was shocked that Jesus was allowing her to touch him, seeing how sinful she was. Jesus, in all His wisdom, launched into a parable and challenged the pharisee’s ideas on what grace, love and forgiveness really mean. He ended with this: “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” You can read the whole story in Luke 7, verses 36 to 50.
I think the point of the story is that the level of our gratefulness determines the level of our faith, our joy, the level of grace we show others. The level of our gratefulness directly affects our walk with Christ. Just like my friend, who knows in a deep, personal way the price she paid to have her sweet baby boy, we can only go deeper into a walk with Christ if we know what price He paid for us to have a relationship with him.
In my own life, I’ve been pondering this a lot lately. I think of my own children and how much I love them, how I would do anything for them, even die for them. But could I, would I ever consider asking them to die so that you could have life? Could I ever lay down their lives as a price for the mistakes you’ve made? You many not even know me. You may not even like me. You may not even accept the gift my child would give with his life. But would I ask my son to die anyway?
When I think about the weight of that, I am flabbergasted. Utterly flabbergasted. And that’s when the gratefulness kicks in. Oh Father God, thank You for asking your son to die for my mistakes, for my failures, for my shortcomings. For the sins I’ve already committed, and for the sins I’ve yet to commit. For the sins I’ve overcome and the sins I can’t seem to shake. When I start thinking about that, really start pondering it, I’m overwhelmed. Grace is life-changing. Mercy is overwhelming.
God is so good, truly. And if you don’t know that yet, you can. If you can’t wrap your mind around the idea that God would forgive you, knowing what you’ve done, you’re not alone. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and we all reach a point in our lives where we can’t believe He could really forgive even us. But He did. Oh the glory of it – He did!
And our responsibility, our only responsibility, is to accept it. That acceptance conceives an attitude of gratitude that, once birthed, transforms our lives into something we never could have imagined on our own. That, my friends, is a miracle only God Himself could perform!
If you would like to read my friend’s birth story, you can find it here. But be forewarned, you’ll need a tissue (or two).