By: Pam Farrel
Our preschool granddaughter reaches for my hand anytime we walk. Recently as we walked together, she heard the rumbling of a train nearby and, reaching up for me, said, “Nana, I ‘fraid” (afraid). I immediately picked her up and gave her a hug. She knows I’m there for her. She knows I will rescue her.
We are God’s kids. He wants us to know that He is there for us. Sure, walking with God does have its payoffs. I have a happy marriage and three terrific sons who are smart, capable, and contributing citizens. I have amazing friendships, and I get to work doing what I love. I’m blessed to travel to many exciting places and meet some interesting, inspiring people. I have a safe home and enjoy the hope of heaven. But these aren’t the reasons I believe in Jesus.
When I was in college, I discovered a thing called Christian music. I was introduced to an artist named Evie, who sang a song titled “If Heaven Was Never Promised to Me.” The song caused me to ask, “Why do I believe in Jesus?” Sure, I have the amazing gift of heaven, but what has God done already here on earth?
Although everyone would answer this question differently, here’s what some of the earlier entries on my list look like:
- 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 to have a love relationship.
- God sent food when Bill and I were struggling, poor students.
- God gave me a bicycle to ride when my car died.
- God gave Bill and I 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 has always been with me to process my emotions so Bill is spared the drama!
- God sent me Bill, an amazing partner in life and love.
I fell in love with my husband when he explained the meaning of a simple phrase on the front of his leather 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 means knowing God now, not 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). It is to know the God who promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb, 13:5, NASB). 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 to Jesus. You may consider writing a line of thanks each day on your calendar, or keep a running list on your refrigerator, or drop your thanks on slips of paper into a jar to reminisce over on Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Eve, or on your birthday. Take some time alone and with your spouse, family, or close friends to review and thank God for all He has done to create a portrait of love, grace, and provision in your life.
Pam Farrel is a contributing author of Just Between Us, an international speaker and author of 45 books, including her newest Bible study co-authored with Jean E. Jones and Karla Dornacher: Discovering Hope in the Psalms. Pam and her husband Bill direct Love-Wise, a ministry to enrich, educate and encourage people’s most vital relationships.