What are you thankful for a huge sign leaning against a tourism bus asked? Many wrote the weather while others took this opportunity to shock by posting vulgar comments. I wrote, ‘My Faith’. I hadn’t realized it until I pondered the question but ‘yes’ I truly am most grateful for my salvation and faith. It took several decades to get to where I’m at spiritually. I’ve been through a lot but as promised God used every tear, heartache and struggle to make me a better person. Today I have a kind heart, generous spirit and I live to share the message of the Gospel. I was a real mess when our heavenly Father first called me. But as I look back I can see clearly how each and every struggle was carefully orchestrated to mature, strengthen and refine me. Nothing was wasted. Each storm God allowed to pass through the divine hedge of protection He placed around my life had a purpose for good. His ways are not our ways they are higher. And I can tell you from experience that sometimes the things God makes happen are truly miraculous. Our heavenly Father opens the most amazing doors in the darkest hours. He will bring the believer to the very end of themselves to burn out all pride, selfishness and dysfunction. Why? It is only at the precipice that people truly change.
Like the palm tree faith grows in the storm. When the palm is bent over by the strong relentless winds of a hurricane the tree doesn’t break. Miraculously in the midst of the storm it begins to grow deeper roots. The human spirit is much the same. Trouble and heartache can either be used by the evil one to destroy us or by God to refine and purify our spirits and deepen our faith.
I’ve yet to meet someone who has lived a life of comfort and privilege who would give to the point of true self sacrifice. But, I’ve met hundreds of people who have suffered greatly in one circumstance or another who went on to truly make a difference seeking no personal recognition in return. They simply gave because they knew what it was like to hurt.
I revisited the thankful sign a week later hoping that a few other Christians might have left messages as well. I was not disappointed. In a sea of negativity and vulgarity our messages shined through like small rays of light coming out of the darkness. A handful of devout believers shared insights like mine which perhaps made a few passers-by wonder why our sentiments were so different. And I like to imagine our personal messages made them curious enough to think of the One who blessed us with such happiness, peace and stability.