My friend Leslie’s beautiful transparency challenge me to realize that a thankless heart is no small thing. Her words inspire me to be ruthless with those things in my life that get in the way of a thankful heart!
GUEST BLOG: By Leslie Long
Recently I was reading in Genesis 3. I watch the serpent lead Eve into doubts about God and what He really commanded her and Adam not to do. Once she is thoroughly distracted with desire, Satan convinces Eve that if she eats the fruit of the forbidden tree, she will actually become like God.
The couple, unlike the serpent, had been made in the image of God. Adam and Eve were already like God! Satan’s play at tempting Eve to get the only thing God withheld caused her to stumble. She forgot that she already had something far better than what Satan was offering. I imagine God giving Eve the world, and with a thankless, calloused heart, she refuses it and demands more.
It’s as if I’m looking into a mirror and find that so it is with me. I’ve come to learn that I simply cannot give thanks or live in joy when my heart is ravaged with discontentment.
Satan gives voice in my own heart to the lies he told Eve thousands of years ago and I stumble into my old ways, forgetting the good gifts given to me. Instead of giving thanks, I turn my nose up to what my Father has offered and implore He give me more.
If only my marriage were easier, I’d praise you more. If you made me look like her, I’d have no problem being joyful. If I didn’t struggle with anxiety, then I’d be free. If you made my calling clear, then I would be more advanced in my career. This is the hard, honest truth of my childish heart. I hardly notice the treasure He has laid before me because I, like Eve, am distracted by Satan’s devices.
But what about the unseen good gifts of refining that God did through a tough first year of marriage? Or in the battle with self-image? Or in trusting Him with my anxiety? What about the beauty He may create there? Isn’t that the gift He promises? To be with us through the trial, continuing His work in us?
I’m too busy being discontented to see that these are the things He is calling me to be thankful for! And the truth hits me: This life is about God’s glory, not my ease and happiness. In His kindness, He is drawing me near and through these hard things and by His grace, I’m finding out who He really is.
He goes even further and creates such rich eternal beauty in me. Had he catered to my pleas and removed me from these hard places, I wouldn’t experience this newness in intimacy with the Lord.
In her foreword to the book, Choosing Gratitude, Joni Eareckson Tada writes, “I give God thanks in my wheelchair…I’m grateful for my quadriplegia. It’s a bruising of a blessing. A gift wrapped in black. It’s the shadowy companion that walks with me daily, pulling and pushing me into the arms of my Saviour. And that’s where the joy is…”
These days, God’s kindness in the midst of my sin leads me to repentance. I find myself saying a simple prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to do what I cannot: “Please, Lord, help me to trust when I cannot see. Will you help me remember you have given me exactly what I need? Would you create a more thankful heart in me? And when it is hard to see, I pray to remember the beauty into which you’ve folded and encompassed me: covered in righteousness, lavished with grace, claimed as beautiful daughter with a strong eternal Hope waiting beneath every fear, concern and struggle- like a rush of relief that reminds, this is not the end of the story!” Thank God.