When people ask me “what I am grateful for?,” I quickly think of my immediate and my extended family. One tradition in the Lyle family is to spend time together outdoors.
I remember a time when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I sat in the woods with Major LeRoy Lyle, my grandpa, listening for turkeys to roost. As darkness came upon us, we listened closely as they flew up and into the trees. In addition to hearing the turkeys flap their big wings, we also heard a bunch of howling coyotes. Some were even close to us.
I was frightened. I asked Grandpa, “Can we go back to the cabin?”
But that day, Grandpa taught me a lesson that I have since taught to my children. He told me that I don’t have to be afraid of anything. As the sun slowly disappeared beneath the horizon, he softly sang the chorus “Jesus Loves Me.” He also told me that we could walk through the woods with confidence—even in the dark. And when we are afraid, all we simply need to do is to draw nearer to God, because His word says that He will draw near to us (James 4:8).
Now as an adult, this simple lesson has helped me get through some tough times during the past two years. It may sound simple, but I’m grateful for having a family that loves one another during such times. I’m thankful for moments I had as a child that today still shape me. And I’m thankful for simple moments with my grandfather, a man whom I dearly love.
Just as I sat a little closer to Grandpa when I heard those coyotes, I need to draw closer to God when fear and difficult moments come my way. When I’ve passed through those times, the result is my testimony of God‘s love, revealed and lived out in my life.
“Yes, Jesus loves me,” this I know.
— Major Joshua D. Lyle