What gives you the strength you need to get through today? What gives you hope for tomorrow? Guest blogger, Sike Osinuga from Thrive by the Word, gives her answer to those two questions.
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“The one who knows how to think deeply excels in
giving thanks” is a vague interpretation of an
African proverb I grew up hearing over and over again. It would often feature
in conversations when someone begins to show signs of despondence, as though
there couldn’t possibly be anything to be thankful for.
Admittedly though, such feelings of thanklessness are sometimes not without warrant. Yet at other times, it’s a case of missing the forest for the trees. Whatever the case, the wisdom in that pithy proverb holds true. And if ever you get stuck, internet search engines are on standby (as always) to offer the thousandth item to be added to the list!
Personally, there is so much to be thankful for, even without a proverbial thinking cap on. For the sake of this blog post, I’ll whittle down to one ’item’ that encompasses all others – my faith. I am very aware that the idea of thanksgiving is not limited to the confines of a particular religion or sect, and so my intention is not to go all preachy or wacky on you, rather I hope to share from a place of personal conviction and experience.
In attempting to answer the question, I worked my way backwards by trying to pinpoint what I would be most devastated to not have. As I mentally sorted through my options, it seemed there was always a fall-back, for example, were I to lose all my money (not like I have a lot anyway), I could start all over again by raking in an income from a job…
But not so for my faith. It plays such a pivotal role in my life, that I dare say with C.S Lewis “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”. In other words, my Christian faith deserves to be the one thing I ought to be most grateful for, even though I sometimes forget that.
Not too long ago, my family experienced multiple bereavements in such a quick succession that I was sure I could not bear the pain and heartbreak for one more moment. In that horribly dark season, when everything else faded into a gloomy blur, there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel which offered me what I desperately needed – hope, real hope.
I found this hope at the foot of the cross. Slowly, I could venture to smile again, not because the pain miraculously disappeared, but because I was helped to see a better picture – a resurrected Saviour, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
One of the highpoints of my faith, and by that I speak of the Christian faith in general, is that we are not lone rangers; rather, we are in community with a band of brothers and sisters. Together, we have a King over us, a people with us and a blessing for us. I am thankful I did not walk that dark and dreary road alone.
Yet I know I’m
not out of the woods, neither are you. We live in a broken world - all we need
do is turn on the television to know where the latest evil is unravelling. Without
faith, it’s hard for me to make sense of such grimness, but by faith I can pray
with Habakkuk the prophet:
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
In as much as I am thankful for my faith, it really isn’t about my zeal or the lack of it, but the object of my faith. To be clear, I am by no means the poster child of biblical faith, as I have my ‘seasons of drought’, as I imagine everyone does. But to think that I know and am known by the God of creation is mind-blowing indeed; even more so is the fact that He is lovingly working all things – the good, the bad and the ugly - out for ultimate good.
Whilst we await the promise of a perfect world, God has graciously given us an advocate in the Holy Spirit to walk alongside us, which in my world translates to strength for today and hope for tomorrow! What’s not to be thankful for?
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