9 Thankful Stories From 9 Believers on Thanksgiving
By Elsie Hu, November 29, 2017 03:11 AM
The Bible teaches us:
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20)
Always giving thanks means that we need to give thanks to God no matter what our circumstances are: ups or downs, blessings or distress.
On Thanksgiving, Christian Times, a Beijing based Christian website, invited some pastors, preachers, and believers to share the most thankful stories in their faith journey.
Pastor Fan: I'm thankful that God led me through the ups and downs in the last 27 years.
After I became a Christian, God taught me to see the people who hurt me once from a different perspective. I also learned to be thankful and became willing to imitate Jesus by being humble and forgiving. God reshaped me through all kinds of trials, though I'm still hurt by others in life, He will comfort me. He also helped me grow up and be more mature through all the people that hurt me.
I give thanks to the Heavenly Father that I still have "room" to mature. Although there is anger inside of me, I know that God is there too so it will only last for a second, and I won't hate others or hold onto my anger.
Preacher Chen: I'm thankful for being alive
My family almost gave me up because I was born very weak. In the country, every family wants to raise a strong boy to help with farm work. However, my mother kept me and raised me. I still couldn't walk properly when I started elementary school, so my mom took me to school every day on her bike. When it rained, the bike wouldn't move in the muddy road, so she would carry me to school.
Many children with the same condition as me in my hometown either didn't survive or were barely fed. They weren't allowed to go to school. But my family went to great length to make sure that I was educated, especially my mom.
Sister Yao: I'm thankful that God chose me and gave me a mission
I have experienced much grace over my four years of faith; however, I see God's love most in His choosing me and the mission he gave me.
Before I was a Christian, I lived a life that didn't please God, or have any eternal meaning. Amazingly, God chose me, taught me the truth, and changed my life. Not only that, He gave me a mission and polished my life through serving Him so that I have a share in the building of the heaven.
Sister Liu: I'm thankful that my husband is a Christian now
I have believed for 20 years and have so many things to be thankful for. However, I mostly want to thank God for saving my marriage.
My husband was not a believer. He had a bad temper and always verbally abused me because of my faith. He didn't allow me to attend church and he wasn't happy either if other believers visited. We fought a lot over this.
Later, our pastor suggested I pray for my husband's conversion and be a good witness at home. So I knelt down before God and prayed that He would lead my husband to believe. I didn't fight with him for three or four years. One day, he offered to go to church for the first time! A few years later, he was baptized into Christ.
Brother Wu: I'm thankful that God helped me quit smoking
The last time I tried to quit smoking was when I got diagnosed with some lung issues and was hospitalized for over half a month. I tried various methods: e-cig, chewing gum, drinking tea, and more. I claimed to quit, but my mind was still hooked and I always wanted to smoke.
Then my wife said to me: "Read the Bible when you can't help it." Actually, everyone at the church knew about my smoking, however, no one ever criticized me to my face. They all encouraged me to rely on God to overcome the urge when I began to quit smoking.
My old routine was to smoke a cigarette in the bathroom first thing in the morning, and then reading the Bible took over. Normally, when I craved for a puff, I recited the Lord's Prayer in my heart. It wasn't that hard. After about a month, I was completely out of the control of smoking.
Sister Song: I'm thankful that I learned God through the College Entrance Exam
I believed in God in the second semester of high school when my aunt shared the Gospel with me. It has only been two years and I still don't have that much experience.
I have always been afraid of exams. I have good grades, but as soon as I sit in the exam room, my mind goes blank. When it comes to the most important exam, my family worried sick over this.
My aunt has been a Christian for many years. At first, I wasn't patient listening to her preaching to my mom and I. But she said: "Pray, God will help you so you won't be afraid during exams."
I wanted my college entrance exam to go well, so I attended church with her several times. I also learned how to pray. In my "objective" prayer, I said to God: "I will believe in you if you remove my fear and let me do well on the Gaokao (Chinese national college entrance exam)." I prayed like this every day before my D-day. When the day finally came, I was very calm and at ease, which I never felt before. I was very happy as I answered the questions, thinking: "Thank you, God! You do exist!"
Now, my journey of faith has just began and my knowledge of God is still shallow. But I'm thankful that I could know the existence of God through this opportunity.
Sister Shen: I'm thankful that God kept my father safe
I was distant from God and didn't know Him the first three years after I converted.
When my dad visited his hometown, we lost contact. My mother and brother used all their resources to locate him, and I never felt that death could be so close to me. I knelt down on my bed every night, praying in tears: "As long as you send my father home safely, I will dedicate my life to you! I will follow you all my life!" At the time, the brothers and sisters in the church were also praying for my dad.
Three days later, we received his call. Mom and I were so happy that we burst into tears. He said that the weather was too hot and the renovation work at home wasn't finished, so he stayed at a hotel. He accidentally dropped his phone in the toilet and it was at the repair shop the whole time. That's why he couldn't call us.
Thinking back, people might say that it was merely a coincidence, but I don't think so. I still give thanks to God for keeping my dad safe. Untill this day, four years after the incident, I always keep it in mind as well as my promise to God, that I would dedicate my life and follow Him.
Sister Peng: I'm thankful for a devout mom who loves God
I never took a long trip by myself, so I was very nervous and scared when I had to go to Beijing by train.
Before my departure, my mom said to me: "I don't know about you, but I have faith in Jesus, so just go." That simple remark calmed me down. I learned from my mom what wisdom of faith are and how to look to God and trust. After that, I "boldly" got on the train to Beijing.
I'm thankful for having a devout mother who teaches me so much in my spiritual growth.
Sister Su: I'm thankful for a loving mother
I'm the only child in my family and I work in Beijing. I only visit my mom during vacations. In fact, she's not in a great physical condition with her epilepsy. However, she never tells me this because she doesn't want to worry me.
My dad passed away four years ago. My mom, with no ability to work, makes a living farming. She's very careful with money, but she saves it all for me.
My mom loves God devotedly and I came to know God because of her influence. On this Thanksgiving, I want to thank God for blessing me with such a loving mother!
-Translated by Grace Hubl
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