Saturday, October 04, 2003


(Primeval Saints by James Jordan)

Some years ago there was somewhat of a crisis that brought me to a crossroad. I wrestled with my emotions in trying to decide how to respond and what to do. I asked myself, “Do I despair, or do I look for some hope in this head knowledge I have that God is taking care of things”. That year for my birthday I got my answer in the form of a little wooden box given to me by a dear friend. Feeling a little ignorant I had to ask what it was.

“It’s a ‘Thankfulness Box’,” she said, “Whenever God does something big or little that you want to remember, just write it down and put it in the box. Every so often you can take them all out and thanks God for all the things He’s given.”

The weeks and months following were both the worst and best of my life. When I got my box I wondered what in the world I would do with it, but in the lowest and even brightest times that came after I found myself going back to the box, dumping out all the little pieces of paper and thanking God for reminding me of all the times He had proven faithful in the people and events brought my way.

A year or so later, another good friend of mine was having some major spiritual struggles. Every time I talked with her the conversations would be about how she felt and what was happening or not happening to make her think that God had forsaken her. It was then that I remembered how the simple—or sometimes not so simple—act of offering up thanks had changed my heart and outlook from focusing on me and my needs to the bigger picture of how God had worked in the past. I shared with her that such a reminder to have a heart of thankfulness completely changed how I viewed not only God, but myself within the realm of His sovereign grace. She and I covenanted together to start an exercise of radical thankfulness by praying for one situation or person every day that we may or may not necessarily be thankful for, but just as an exercise to shift our minds from ourselves to someone else. Along with choosing a verse each day we both began to see the bigger picture of God’s working—in history, in the lives of those we were praying for and ultimately have a clearer understanding of how we fit into His plan.

There is a plan that God has for the individual, but He works covenantaly with peoples to fulfill His Kingdom purposes. It’s easy to lose sight of that and live life subjectively with no other life in view but our own. Thankfulness is anti-pride. It’s a recognition that we are not capable of living life without the aid of divine intervention—often manifesting itself in covenantal community. More often than not the scratch paper in my little box has the name of a person on it. It’s helpful to be reminded that I’m dependant on the means of grace and the mercies of a sovereign God.

“The giving of thanks is a rendering of praise and an affirmation of dependence upon someone else.” --James Jordan, Primeval Saints, pg. 22

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