Heart Overflowing with Gratitude
by Tracy Ruckman
My heart overflows with gratitude this year for so many reasons. Yes, it’s been another difficult year – broken relationships, financial struggles, health concerns, new work schedules, new school schedules, dealing with mental illness of loved ones, death of loved ones, car troubles, watching the world get darker by the second.
But in the midst of all those negatives, God has been ever-present and has poured out His blessings and wonders in many of those same areas: restored relationships, financial blessings, health improvements, new babies, awesome professors, incredible new opportunities, new friends. And about six months ago, we also overcame a mighty oppression that had haunted us for years, and the difference is extreme.
This year, we’ve watched countless Christians shine brightly for the Kingdom in so many different ways. Personally, I’ve watched our authors shine through the opportunities provided them – watched and listened as they’ve shared their personal walks with Jesus with a dying world. And then on a worldwide scale, we’ve all watched Christians summon every ounce of courage to proclaim the name of Jesus in the face of horrifying death at the hands of evil.
As I was writing this post, one specific word was repeated over the few days this document sat on my laptop and this word is what gets us through all the bad days, all the horror, all the darkness. The message of this single word is powerful and life-changing – the word OVERCOME. We can overcome the darkness because JESUS has overcome the WORLD. He told us that Himself in John 16:33. Jesus is the VICTOR, and those of us who follow Him are victors, too, regardless of whatever our current circumstances may be. Jesus won the war, which means if we follow Him, we win, too.
I’m thankful for a Savior who loves us so much that He died so that we might spend eternity – ETERNITY – with Him. An eternity spent in worship and praise. An eternity without pain, sorrow, tears, or heartbreak of any sort.
I’m thankful He gives us all second chances (and most times, many more!) to follow Him, to tell others about Him, to serve Him. I’m thankful to know that He is indeed the Victor, and that as His follower, I am, too. That knowledge helps me get through the painful days.
We can let the darkness of the world invade our lives or we can focus instead on the Light – shining Jesus’ Light for others who may be lost or wandering. This year, I’m especially grateful for His Light, which shines for all eternity.