Ephesians 5:1-14

Podcast Link:
Hope of the Beloved (Sermon by Danny Bryant)

I just finished listening to this sermon. Of course, I make a point of listening to Danny's sermons because he's my son. But that is not the only reason I enjoy them. I always get something out of them.

There is a point in the sermon where Danny talks about the things we suffer in this life increasing our capacity to uniquely enjoy heaven. I know it is true because I've already had a taste of that in this life.

I had one of those days today where I couldn't stop thinking about how blessed I am and how good God has been to me. I thought about my life as it once was and my life today. It still seems surreal at times. I never could have imagined my life being so good, so happy, so stable, so tranquil. God's plans for me were better than my dreams. I often contemplate that because we all tend to think we know what is best for us. But only God actually knows what is best. And even though He takes us through difficult places (that sometimes feel as if they will last forever), He knows what He's doing and He has a purpose.

At the end of May I will have known John for eight years. My life changed dramatically when I met him. He has been a huge blessing and a gift that I could never take for granted. I am always thankful for him and for our happy marriage. But today was one of those days when I was just overwhelmed with thankfulness all day long. I couldn't stop thinking about all my blessings. I had lunch with a bunch of friends and I told one of them that it was hard to imagine that I might not have ever met John and if I hadn't met him, I would have missed out on all of the close friendships that God blessed me with by bringing me to Murfreesboro. It feels like I've been here forever. It feels like I've known my friends here forever. It's hard to imagine any other life.

I ran some errands after lunch and couldn't stop thinking about what a wonderful life God has given me. When I got home I just stopped in the hall as I walked through my house and thanked God out loud, with tears streaming down my face. I don't deserve His goodness. I am so unworthy. But He has shown me so much mercy and He has been so faithful to provide for me.

If I had never known what it felt like to be unloved, unappreciated, devalued; it's possible that I might have taken John and the life God has given us together for granted. I might not have appreciated my blessings as fully as I do without the contrast. But because of the things I've suffered, my joy is hundreds of times greater. And I know that the little bit of heaven I feel like I have right here on earth cannot begin to compare to what awaits us when EVERYTHING that's broken is restored.

I loved the way my son communicated that our choices in this life are tied to the hope we have in Christ. As my hope in Christ has become deeper and stronger, my desire to obey and honor Him in all of my choices has grown deeper and stronger. I am an overflowing cup of gratitude.

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