The title of this tune from Les Miserables has run through my head as I’ve baked the last couple of days. I also thought of that musical title as I chose a series of family photos and dropped them into the Christmas card design I had chosen Through grace, the Lord has given me a heart full of love. How could I not be thankful?
A heart full of love does not come from man. As a matter of fact, in the days of Noah, God said this:
“God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night.God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart.” (The Message)
The message brought by the angels singing over Bethlehem changed our lives as Jesus Christ entered the world to exchange our stone-hardened hearts for fleshly hearts the Holy Spirit would mold. Ezekiel 11 foretold this:
“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” (ESV)
Then with the tenderness of a butterfly landing on my soul, Jesus exposed my sin and called me to Himself when I was about five. The exchange began a life-long journey of thankfulness in good and, in difficult times, through there were flesh and blood battles on my part along the way.
Thankfulness fills my heart when I think of my faithful, God-sent husband. Yes, Dave knew my checkered health past when we married in 1968, but he didn’t know the bedside stands he would make, advocating, sitting, praying. Yet, he has held me up through it all, filling my heart with godly wisdom and his quiet spirit.
Dave also knew, before he ever asked me to marry him, that my doctor had told me the number of full-body X-rays I had as a teenager meant I would not likely have children. God had other plans and blessed us with two sons. Brent and Becky married in 1998, and then God blessed them with two adorable southern belles.
Bryan and Stacey married in 2003, and then God blessed them with two cuties while they lived in Hawaii. This summer the Lord heaped yet another blessing as the Hawaii Wolfes moved back to the mainland, getting all 10 Wolfes on the East Coast.
On this Thanksgiving Eve, I find myself musing over some of the amazing adventures God has allowed me to take part in through the years. God went out on a literal limb, the cross, not only people who fill big roles for Him, but for the likes of you and me. He has trusted us with the ministry of reconciliation, the most exciting job in this world. But the Apostle Paul says it much better in I Timothy 1:
“I’m so grateful to Christ Jesus for making me adequate to do this work. He went out on a limb, you know, in trusting me with this ministry. The only credentials I brought to it were invective and witch hunts and arrogance. But I was treated mercifully because I didn’t know what I was doing—didn’t know Who I was doing it against! Grace mixed with faith and love poured over me and into me. And all because of Jesus.” (The Message)
Little wonder I have a heart full of love — Jesus placed it there.