The February 19, 1930 issue of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette ran a story from Vienna, Austria of a woman named Corin Ward. Corin was a struggling actress who received a phone call from an attorney, telling her she had been mentioned in the will of a deceased client.
Meeting at the attorney’s office, Corin was told that the will belonged to a man who was known only as “Dr. Meszaros.” Corin did not know any doctor by that name, and wondered if there had been some sort of mistake.
The lawyer was not surprised that Corin didn’t recognize the name. But there was no doubting that Dr. Meszaros knew Corin.
According to the good doctor’s attorney, Meszaros lived in the same city as Corin, and had fallen head over heels in love with her. Meszaros, however, struggled with debilitating fears, and never worked up the courage to speak to the woman he admired from afar.
But he also was unable to ever move past the woman who had captured his heart. He died alone. Meszaros left Corin every penny he had saved over the course of his life — all $50,000.
It is clear that Meszaros loved Corin, but he never expressed his love in either words or actions. And, as a result, the fullness of that love was never realized.
We all want to realize the fullness of love, especially the love of God. In the Bible, in Hebrews 11, we see that the great heroes of the faith “died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance…” (Hebrews 11:13). In other words, these great men and women of the faith did not realize the fullness of the promises of God, but they “welcomed” them anyway as one would warmly welcome and show hospitality towards a guest in their home.
Welcoming the promises of God into one’s life may be difficult at best, simply because the rooms of that life are already filled up with “guests”, namely, the cares of the world. This mentality, this thinking is, in fact, in direct contradiction to the promises of God. For example, our thinking says, “It’s impossible”; but God’s promises say, “All things are possible” (Luke 18:27).
Our thinking complains, “I’m too tired”; but God’s promises assure us that “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30). The psycho-babble of the world proclaims for each of us that “Nobody really loves me”; but the promises of God’s Word give us the words of Jesus, who says, “I love you” (John 3:16 & John 13:34).
When everything inside of us says, “I can’t go on”, God comes back with that promise that “My grace is sufficient” (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15). When we say to ourselves, “I can’t figure things out”, the Lord says, “I will direct your steps” (Proverbs 3:5-6). And when our own thinking tells us, “I can’t do it” and “I’m not able”, Christ promises each of his followers that “You can do all things” (Philippians 4:13) and “I am able” (II Corinthians 9:8).
Our thinking tells us, “It’s not worth it”; but God’s promise proclaims, “It will be worth it” (Romans 8:28). If we listen to the world around us long enough, sooner or later we will begin to think, “I can’t forgive myself.” But God’s Word blatantly proclaims to those who follow Christ in faith, “I forgive you!” (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1). When we feel like we are balancing all the plates we can in a far-too-busy life, we tell ourselves, “I can’t manage”; but the Word of God adamantly tells us that in Christ, “I will supply all your needs” (Philippians 4:19).
The world will encourage you to say, “I’m afraid” or “I’m always worried and frustrated.” You may think there is no way out of that one, but God’s Word proudly proclaims, “I have not given you a spirit of fear” (II Timothy 1:7) and “Cast all your cares on Me” (I Peter 5:7). And when you find yourself complaining that “I feel all alone,” you can take stock in the fact that God promises “I will never leave you or forsake you “ (Hebrews13:5). You may even be saying to yourself, “I’m not smart enough to know all of this”; God promises to YOU that, “I give you wisdom“ (I Corinthians 1:30).
And when you believe that “I don’t have enough faith”, you can ‘go to the bank’ on God’s statement when He says, “I’ve given everyone a measure of faith” (Romans 2:3).
All of these statements contrast our fearful way of thinking with God’s faithful promises as given to us in His Word. We discover that God will come through, even when we least expect Him to, or when we think we least deserve it!
The real tragedy of the story of Meszaros and Corin is that he loved her but never expressed that love. When we love or appreciate someone it’s only natural to express that love.
In our relationship with God, our love should lead to praise, gratitude, thanksgiving, and worship of a God who makes and keeps His fantastic promises.
As C.S. Lewis wrote:
“But the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything — strangely escaped me … I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise …. The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game …. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” (C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, Mariner Books, 1964, pp. 93-95)
On this Thanksgiving, you and I should rejoice in the promises of God, live boldly and righteously according to those promises, and praise and thank Him for those promises … and, as Lewis says, complete the joy! Welcome the promises of God into your heart and home!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette and the News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.