So many things to be thankful for!
I am so thankful to see God’s mighty hand at work in my life even though it is not uncommon to sense an unwelcome tug toward discontentment from time to time. Some days, thankfulness comes very easily. Other days, it is an intentional choice. Having a thankful heart keeps my priorities on track and keeps my focus on the One who deserves all our honor and praise!
One thing I am thankful for this year is that I have never had a doubt that God placed a tremendous call on my husband’s life to be a pastor - and oh does he have a pastor/shepherd’s heart! I am also thankful that he was called to be a ‘preacher,’ a name many of the locals have come to call him through the years. I can’t say I ever doubted that part of the call, but there have been several specific moments that God confirmed in my spirit that he has been called not only to pastor, but to preach.
One of those moments surfaced after we had weathered some particularly rough ministry years, and God gave me a new prayer for my husband from Acts 28:31. It states that for two years Paul “proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ - with all boldness and without hindrance!” Wow. That final phrase really caught my attention – ‘with all boldness and without hindrance!’ And, this was a statement about a man who was under house arrest. Paul had weathered so many storms in life – both literally and physically – and yet he remained faithful to his calling to share the hope found in Jesus Christ!
That’s what I want for my husband, and it has been my on-going prayer for him since that revelation.
- Freedom to proclaim the Gospel regardless of our circumstances.
- Courage to share the grace of Christ to a lost and hurting world.
- The gift of proclamation in one-on-one settings and from the pulpit - without hindrance, distraction or persecution
God often reminds me of my “Acts prayer” on Sunday mornings as my husband is preaching and when I witness him sharing the hope of Christ at funerals. In those moments, I whisper a prayer of thanksgiving. One extra special – and totally unexpected - assurance of God’s grace recently came in the form of a note from our grandson. In his Sunday School class, they had learned of God’s miraculous provision for the Woman in Zarephath through the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:7-16). The boys and girls were then challenged to consider what they were thankful for, and here is the sweet note we received:
“Thank you for my Mormor and PopPaw (with stickers proclaiming: “You did it!” “Well Done!” and “You’re Great!”). I am thankful for Your son, Jesus. I am thankful for my PopPaw who is going to go hunting. Thank you for my house and my dogs and my MorMor and PopPaw.”
A priceless treasure, for sure.
Then when he showed me the stick-figure drawing of him standing alongside of his PopPaw preaching – I got my extra hug from heaven! It was definitely a moment of ‘Thank you, God' as I was reminded again that God is truly answering my prayers - and my grandson is witnessing the evidence of them too! The final page of my grandson's note listed the lesson's theme verse as Deuteronomy 10:17 which proclaims “The Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome.” We do, indeed, serve a mighty and awesome God!
This Thanksgiving, take a moment to consider how God has faithfully been answering your prayers this year – and then take time to share a prayer for your husband.
Dear Almighty God, May you bless our husbands today. May you give them each boldness to share your Word to a lost and dying world. May you go before them, breaking down any barriers. Give them eyes to see the opportunities you have provided for them to faithfully share the hope found in Your son, Jesus. Thank you for all you are doing – seen and unseen – and may you give us the grace and strength we will need each day to serve you faithfully. Amen.