When I was in college, I discovered Christian music. I was introduced to an artist named Evie, who sang “If Heaven Was Never Promised to Me.” The song caused me to ask, “Why do I believe in Jesus?” Besides promising heaven, what has God done for me already here on earth?
Although everyone would answer this question differently, I started keeping a Grateful to God list to help me answer these questions. Through the years, I kept logging things for which I was grateful:
- God heard my cry for help when my abusive father was out of control.
- God walked me out of chaos through the wisdom of a godly mentor.
- God challenged me to rethink how a love relationship works.
- God sent food when Bill and I were struggling students.
- God gave me a bicycle to ride when my car died.
- God gave Bill and me hope in the face of death, disease, and disappointments.
- God gave me wisdom when I was perplexed in my parenting.
- God gave me love when I was angry or frustrated in my marriage.
- God sent me Bill, an amazing partner in life and love.
- God has always helped me to process my emotions so Bill is spared the drama!
I fell in love with my husband when he explained the meaning of a simple phrase on the front of his Bible—“That they may know you.” This phrase comes from John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Eternal life includes knowing God now, not just waiting until heaven. To know Christ is to know the one called “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). It is to know the God who said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). When I look back, I see how God has been with me, with us, and I am grateful.
And daily, my Grateful to God list continues. Begin your own list of why you are grateful. Write a line of thanks each day on your calendar, keep a running list on your refrigerator, or drop your thanks on slips of paper into a jar to revisit on Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Eve, or on your birthday. With your spouse, family, or close friends, review and thank God for all He has done to create a portrait of love, grace, and provision in your life.
Pam Farrel is an international speaker, relationship specialist and bestselling author of over 45 books including 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience. Follow Pam and her husband, Bill, on Twitter (@pamfarrel) and Bill and Pam Farrel on Facebook.