I’ve been thinking about gratitude.
What exactly does it mean to be grateful?
The dictionary defines the word this way:
Having a due sense of benefits received; kindly disposed toward one from whom a favor has been received; willing to acknowledge and repay, or give thanks for, benefits.
OK, I get that.
It’s rather easy to be grateful for benefits.
I’m always kindly disposed toward someone who does me a favor.
I’m often motivated to pay them back something good in return.
And sure, when God does something wonderful for me, I’m grateful. I feel all close and snuggly to Him – tucked in close. I smile at Him, and I want to serve Him with all of my heart.
It’s human nature to feel that way.
But God has called me to something bigger than human nature. He has called me to be like Him.
And sometimes that requires upside-down gratitude.
"Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
ALL – a pesky word…
You know, on first reading, I was impressed with the fact that it is God’s will for us to be thankful in all circumstances.
However, I read another possible meaning hidden in there.
We are to be thankful for all things BECAUSE those very things are God’s will for us.
Nothing happens outside of His watch. He is never surprised by anything that happens to us. The good and the bad things are working toward His ultimate purposes.
We have promise after promise in His Word that tells us these things.
But oh, living them out in practice is so very hard, isn’t it?
So, what are some things that aren't so wonderful in my life? God commands me to be thankful for those things, too.
The car that breaks down.
The sickness that sidelines me.
The person who continually rubs me the wrong way.
The nagging headache.
The surmounting bills to pay.
The struggles and difficulties of my family.
The spiritual battles.
How on earth can I find thanks for those things?
Because – it is these things that drive me to my knees. It is these things that turn my face upward. It is these things that make me understand…
I am not in charge.
That is God's will for me. To learn that He ordains every step of my way. To learn that everything in my life arrives only after being filtered through His sovereignty and providence. To learn that He is working out His purposes, through the good things and the bad.
To learn that I have nothing and no one else in life to depend on fully, except for Him.
And, at the end of the day, I’m so very grateful for that…
What do you have trouble being grateful for?
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