A grateful heart

Think a minute…During World War II, churches in the U.S. stayed open 24 hours a day so people could come to pray for their country and family members overseas on the battlefield. A church caretaker noticed a boy who came to pray for 10 minutes every day. One day the boy came and prayed even longer. The caretaker asked him why he was praying much longer this time. The boy answered:  “Each day I came to ask God to bring my father home safely. And this morning he came home! So I hurried here to thank God.” Sadly, many adults do not thank God very much, if at all, once they get what they want from Him. 

Do you have a grateful heart each day, no matter how things are going?  Never forget there are literally millions of people in the world with worse problems than yours, whether it’s horrible abuse, neglect, deprivation, or disease. As a friend of mine reminds himself when he allows some little problem to become overly big in his mind: “It’s just a First World problem!” 

My friend’s son, Joshua, was born with a serious heart disease. Joshua has had several heart surgeries. He’s not been able to play sports because of his heart condition. But Joshua’s grandmother has always taught him to be thankful. On days when Joshua was so sick he could not go to school, his grandmother told him: “Josh, just be thankful that you are home and not in the hospital.” 

Recently Joshua had another heart surgery, but this time the strong medicine made him so sick he almost died. Joshua’s grandmother telephoned him in the hospital to kindly and gently say:  “Josh, I love you and I’m praying for you. Be thankful you’re not in a coma.”  No matter how bad our problems are, they could always be much worse. In fact, God has spared your life and answered many prayers you never even prayed! So when was the last time you thanked Him for everything He has given you and spared you?

Your family, friends, food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, an education, and your long list of blessings goes on and on. Many things we take for granted that hundreds of millions of people in the world do not have! 

It is usually after we have gone through problems or pain that we learn some of our most important lessons in life. There is a song that says:  “If I’d never had a problem, I’d never know that He could solve them. I’d never know what faith in God could do.”  In other words: “You don’t know He is all you need until He is all you’ve got.” Won’t you surrender your heart and life to Jesus today? This is the greatest gift for which you can be thankful.

Unlike a couple of billion people in the world still waiting to hear, you have heard the News about Jesus—Who is the only way we can be forgiven to receive His full and everlasting life. Won’t you thank Him by giving Him your life today? It’s our only reasonable response of love and gratitude to Him for everything that He’s mercifully and sacrificially done for us. Just think a minute…

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