Sometime last month, an Argentinian boy on the other side of the world made me cry. I don’t even know his name. But big, fat tears rolled down my cheeks as I watched the three-minute video clip—a beautiful capture of a thankful heart.
You may have come across it—a young boy clad in red and white pyjamas, excitedly opening a gift from his parents . . . only to find a wooden chopping board. I can only imagine how he was feeling; he’d known what he wanted, and that wasn’t it.
But this child has a quality many of us may take years to learn. Not only did he bravely swallow the bitter pill of disappointment, he thanked his parents sincerely, giving his mother a hug and a kiss as he jokingly talked about how he would be chopping meat on it soon.
Then his real gift came. A rectangular box covered in bright, shiny blue wrapping paper. He peeled it off in anticipation, unveiling a shoe box. But the moment of realization only hit when he lifted the shoe box’s lid, landing his sight on the packaging of a tablet computer; he knew instantly that was the real deal. And yet this amazing boy didn’t continue opening the gift (and you can see how much he wanted it!). Instead, he went straight to his parents, eyes welling up with tears. Overwhelmed, he kept saying, “Gracias. Gracias. Gracias.”
We all have our own fair share of receiving “chopping boards”—experiences scarred by disappointment, dashed hopes, and the frustration of not knowing “why.” It can be really difficult to find it in our hearts to be thankful for them, no matter how hard we try.
In Philippians 4:12-13, Paul says, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
I find these words so encouraging! God, who loves us dearly and knows our hearts, strengthens us so we can truly be content in all our circumstances. I’ve found that the more I focus on Him, the easier it is to find things to be thankful for. It is relishing the gentle pink sunrise instead of complaining about the morning traffic, or whispering a “Thank you, God” when Spotify shuffles my playlist and plays a song my heart really needs to hear right then.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, let’s find a quiet moment to sit still and remember with grateful hearts God’s unfailing love for us. It was His love that sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the ultimate price for our sins, and it is this love that shares our joy and comforts us in our troubles.
So when it seems that all we’re getting are life’s “chopping boards”, we can look to God and know that the best is always yet to come when He leads the way. He is shaping us every day, for our good and for His glory. And if we know that in our hearts, there will always be something (and more importantly, someone) we can always be thankful for.
Written By Michelle Chun for YMI