Living Gratitude

“The living, only the living can thank you, as I do today; a father will make your faithfulness known to children” (Isaiah 38.19). 

I am alive and thankful. I am thankful for life because of the time it grants me for repentance, reformation, and revival. Life gave the Holy Spirit an opportunity to bring me to salvation. As I live, I am able to draw closer to God. So, as only the living can thank God, I do so today. Had my life ended in my early 20s, I would have been doomed to eternal torment and misery. But I lived until I came to Christ in 1990. These past 30 + years have been eternally secure. So I thank my Father in Heaven.

What about those who are very close to death? Have they reason to be thankful for life? They certainly are thankful if they are prepared to meet their Maker. They are at the door of everlasting blessing and happiness. Hezekiah was there but he wished to live longer here. We can’t fault him for this. God certainly made us with a desire to live. Death is an intruder. When we die on this earth, all opportunities to reflect God’s character as vessels of holiness and love die as well. We are no benefit to fallen people when we die. The grave cannot thank God. Death cannot praise Him (v. 18). “Those who go down to the Pit cannot hope in your faithfulness.”

My boys need to know that God is faithful. He is always faithful. I want them to know the truth about God’s character, particularly His love and mercy. Paul was hard-pressed to choose between two options: continuing to live for the benefit of others and dying to be with Christ. For Paul, to live is Christ. This is how it should be for me. Only those living for Christ view dying as gain. Only the living are able to communicate this to the coming generation. I am inadequate for the task, but by the grace of God I will continue to press on. “The living, only the living can thank you, as I do today!” 

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