This would have made a good Thanksgiving post yesterday, but better late than never…
Andrew Wilson, whose praises I’ve sung on this blog several times already, gave an interview this week with his wife, Rachel, about their new book, The Life You Never Expected, which comes out in the States next year. The book is about their ongoing adventure of parenting two autistic children in light of their Christian faith.
In the following excerpt, Wilson discusses what he’s learned about gratitude from the experience:
I know I’ve got to get my head around the fact that what I deserve is death and condemnation, and, instead, I’ve received life. And you start there with the gospel, really. The center of the gospel makes you grateful as you consider it—and your eschatological hope and all the rest—compared to what you have. So you stop feeling grumbly about what you have.
But as that sets in in your heart, it begins to spread sideways as well and you become grateful rather than entitled to people… other people—you know, human organizations and institutions and the like—and start thinking, “This isn’t just that I’m grateful to God that he’s given me this instead of eternal separation from God. It’s changes the way you think about gratitude toward other people as well. And you begin to feel happy and excited about things that other people assume is their rights.
Next he talks about his gratitude that in Britain he has access to health resources that many parents of autistic children in other parts of the world don’t have.
But [gratitude] starts with the gospel, and you realize this is just scandalous, and I’ve got so much more than I should have. And as that seeps through bits of your life, it does begin to change [you]. Obviously, that’s a very nice picture of it; it doesn’t always feel like that, but I genuinely think I am a much more grateful person, and I have a much better theology of gift now than I did three years ago because of learning to see gifts everywhere.
He means “scandalous” in the sense that we take so many of God’s blessings for granted.
When I hear things like this, it reaffirms my conviction that we preachers need to preach the gospel in every sermon, in one way or another. We need to continually remind ourselves of the fact that “what [we] deserve is death and condemnation,” whereas what we receive in Christ is eternal life.