By LIBBO CROSSWHITE
Thankful for my need for a Savior
One of my favorite things about the Thanksgiving season is the never-ending crafts that seem to come home during this time. There is always a laminated turkey with my kids’ thankful list. Mary being my people pleaser, she always knows to put God, Mom and Dad before she puts Coke and Barbies. Russell being, well, who he is, opts out of five things and demands that the teacher only put “cowboy boots.”
In years past, my list has consisted of your typical, tangible blessings — and regardless of what season you’re walking through, most of us can come up with five “things” God has blessed us with.
But my list looks different this year. If I’m honest, it’s been a season of walking through some really hard things with people I love dearly. I’ve watched two families bury a child far too soon; and for any mother, that can cause a wrestling in the soul over the brokenness of this world and trying to make sense of circumstances that do anything but make sense.
So here’s my list this year.
I’m thankful that:
◼︎ I can’t fix it.
◼︎ I am not alone.
◼︎ I am not perfect and I am far from in control.
◼︎ I will never make it on my own.
◼︎ I will never fully understand but I will be fully loved and carried through pain.
◼︎ Humans have never been able to do it all.
◼︎ The tomb was empty so I don’t have to be.
◼︎ Jesus’ death gives me life.
◼︎ God is good in all things, even the really terrible things.
◼︎ Our circumstances do not determine our worth or our salvation.
In the way that only God can orchestrate, I find myself back in John 11 this month as I did last month. Jesus calls us out of the tomb and commands us to take off our grave clothes, just as He does Lazarus. Jesus also does something extremely telling a few verses before He raises Lazarus from the dead — when Lazarus’ sister Martha says, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Can’t you hear the desperation in her voice?
What Jesus does next is a reminder for all of us in seasons of pain: He weeps. He is there in maybe the most tangible way that you and I can be for those who are hurting. Words will fail in times of deep sorrow, but Jesus will not. His presence is what our friends need and, as a complement to that, we can be there to weep alongside them in the same way that Jesus did for Martha.
It’s so easy for us to question God’s authority in difficult seasons rather than look at them as confirmation of what God has already told us in His word. When I find myself at funerals, God brings me back to the garden of Eden. He reminds me that from the very beginning of creation, Satan attempted to have humans question God’s authority rather than serve under His authority.
That’s even easier to do when difficulties inevitably arrive. God is clear in scripture that the world is not our final home, that sin has created a broken world, that the world will in fact hate those who believe, BUT that our troubles will be used for God’s ultimate glory. You and I are simply destined to need a Savior — do we take comfort in our need, or do we see it as a weakness? I cling to these promises in God’s Word from Revelation 21:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”
God knows that pain is a part of each of our stories. The best news is that, as believers, we were made for an eternal glory found in believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. May we find gratitude in the cross as a reminder that you and I were not made to fully understand, but more importantly, you and I were made to need a Savior.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 5 years old and a son, Russell, who is 3 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.