** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **
Recently we moved east. I’ve always been a west-end guy, so this is totally new for me. But I’ve enjoyed getting to know the area. The other night I was out roller-blading on a path near our new home. I stopped at one point by the lake and sat for a while to gaze out over Lake Ontario.
As I looked down the shoreline to the right and to the left, as far as my eye could see, all that I could see was beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. The beauty of God’s creation preserved through the fall and the curse, now available for me to experience right near our new house. And the wonder of it is that I didn’t even know this place was there when we bought the house.
That got me to thinking: Isn’t this just like my whole life?
I’ve never known where to go, what to do, who to meet, or what to look for in any given situation. But God has always led me to ‘green pastures’ despite my ignorance. My life has been and continues to be full of blessing.
That night I thought about my life: my beautiful wife, precious daughters, good health, new home, amazing church, wonderful extended family… the list goes on and on. In every realm of my life, God has richly blessed me. Not because I deserve it. Not for a second. I’ve never felt less worthy than I do right now. But I’m freshly humbled, and thankful.
I’m thankful for my family who always steered me in the right direction; for friends current and past; for the good schools I was able to attend to get an education; for random people who have blessed me by helping me get and keep jobs; for living in Canada; for living in the 20th & 21st centuries; for growing up in a family where I learned the Bible from a young age; the list goes on and on.
When I think about all that I have to be thankful for, I’m amazed that I ever complain about anything. I’m amazed that I would ever be proud about anything. I’m amazed that I’m not more thankful. When I think about all that I have to be thankful for, I realize the truth of the saying, ‘Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.’
When I pause to give thanks for thirty years of God’s abundant kindness to me–first and foremost in the gospel, but then over-flowing to all of my life–I’m reminded that it is good to be thankful. Thankfulness makes less of me, more of God, and more of his goodness to me through the people he has given me in my life.
I pray that after thirty more years (God willing), I’ll be able to look back and see that I’ve grown in my quickness to give thanks. I want to know more and more what the apostle Paul knew: That being filled with the Holy Spirit means living a life that is full of ‘giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Eph 5.18-20).