By Katie Eubanks Ginn
I don’t know how to say this without bragging, but I had a pretty fantastic Thanksgiving. (The one disappointment was that my parents couldn’t make it to the Eubanks family turkey day in Arkansas, as Dad caught COVID. But he’s doing better now, and they hope to visit his sisters soon.)
A lot of factors made Thanksgiving fun:
- A good audiobook, Michael Crichton’s “Dragon Teeth,” for the drive through the Delta.
- The discovery that Subway and McDonald’s are not the only viable lunch options in Lake Village, Arkansas. La Terraza was good! Try the Mexican Fried Rice.
- Cheese dip at Stoby’s restaurant in Conway. It’s probably just Velveeta and store-bought tortilla chips, but I grew up on it at the Stoby’s in Russellville, so it tastes like home.
- Chilly but beautiful weather, more delicious food, good visiting, and games at the Eubanks family gathering. (It helps that I won a few rounds of badminton and Mad Gab. If you want to see just how angry I can get, watch me try to play Fortnight with my husband.)
- Revisiting the place where Stephen proposed last Thanksgiving at Petit Jean State Park. No fog this year, just gorgeous fall colors and a spectacular sunset!
- Hot chocolate and plenty of carbs at Cracker Barrel — including something called a Cinnamon Roll Pie? Good grief, it was tasty.
Then, after we got home, we had another great day: Stephen’s best friend Azod was in town, and we went with him to a cookout hosted by other friends who have some land in south Jackson. More fabulous food and visiting.
We are now “peopled out,” but I’ve found myself marveling over what a good time we’ve had in the past week. The other thing I keep thinking is an idea I read somewhere, probably from the late Timothy Keller: As believers, we can enjoy blessings like the ones I listed above because they’re not our end-all, be-all. We already have an end-all, be-all, and it’s Jesus.
In other words, if we relied on the “perfect” Thanksgiving or Christmas to satisfy our souls’ deepest yearnings, we’d be left wanting. Earthly treasures — even the people we love most — cannot bear that kind of weight. They cannot be our end-all, be-all. They cannot give us what we need most: forgiveness, righteousness before God, and the peace that passes all understanding.
Last month I mentioned my “faith crisis year” in Oxford. That year, I was taking college courses that should’ve been fascinating. At best, they distracted me. I lived in a town brimming with literary culture, live music, and good food. I found it all achingly hollow, especially the bookstores I used to enjoy. I was even surrounded by warm, caring believers. I saw Jesus’ love in them, but until I surrendered to that love myself, I suffered.
Now, compare this with my recent holiday: A good book, family and friends — oh, and as I write this, we’re planning to attend Blue Monday at Hal & Mal’s tonight, to hear Azod’s brother sit in with the house band. I’m enjoying every bit of it. The difference? None of it has to satisfy completely, because I know the One who does. I can simply enjoy these other blessings for what they are.
That’s why the title of this Editor’s Letter is not a typo. If you have put your trust in Christ, He is your Blessing, singular. You probably have other blessings too, though maybe it doesn’t feel like it. Either way, if you’re His, you can count (and count on) Him.
If you’re not His, I pray you would believe in Him. Yes, that means turning from your sin and surrendering your life to Him. But no, it doesn’t mean “strain and strive to be better and hope He accepts you.” It means TRUST.
Trust in His finished payment on the cross for your sins (John 19:30). Trust Him enough to follow Him (He’ll help you if you’ll only say yes). Then you will have everything your soul longs for, regardless of your thoughts, feelings, or circumstances (all of which can betray us). You will know the Blessing who satisfies.