Some time ago my wife was having a very bad day. Her mood and outlook on life is constantly cheerful. But on this day, it was chilly and dark. Things at work were difficult. There were family issues—in hers and mine. There was more month than money. A co-worker was being inflexible and obnoxious. The house was a wreck. Our children were defying her, and I was ignoring her. She was reduced to tears. I went in to where she was crying, I put my arms around her, and I said, “But honey, I love you.”
In my mind I was dismounting from my white steed, my shining armor polished to a dazzling sheen, there to save the day with my strong arms, calming presence, and soothing words. But I was not received as the saving Messiah. She recoiled, pushed me away and said, “I know. But that doesn’t fix anything.” And she was right.
My love for her didn’t shut up bawling children. It didn’t magically put more money in our checking account. It didn’t turn the dunce she worked with into Mother Teresa. It didn’t even take the fish sticks off the table. But what we ultimately agreed upon, after I got over the shock of being so rebuffed, is that while love changes nothing about our circumstances, love changes us. It gives us the strength to face what is out there, even if what is out there is sideways. Love sustains us, encourages us; it gives us what we really need: The ability to keep going, even with tears on our cheeks.
That’s what God’s love does. It keeps going and keeps us going. It endures forever, and for that, we are forever grateful. We are not alone. We are not abandoned. We are not forgotten. God is with us. We are loved. If given this choice, which would you take: To have all your problems solved, all your struggles worked out, and all your troubles flushed away; or, would you choose to be deeply, unconditionally, and madly loved?
I think I know your answer. And that answer is the reason for our gratitude, even in a world turned upside down. Love produces thanksgiving – not because we will have everything we want – but because we have the one thing we were made for, the one thing we need. His love endures forever; let us give thanks.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.