Monday, April 11, 2011


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?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. This has been on my heart a lot lately! Trying to see God's provision and will through the unlikeliest of circumstances. For instance, I'm *still* hung up on this jobless thing, but so much good has come out of it - like the opportunity to create amazing friendships through a daytime Bible study, being able to see my girls become the best of friends, allowing my husband the opportunity to single-handedly fill the role of provider. It's been cool. But there's the "me me me" part that still has trouble and keeps getting me in a funk.

    Hence, the somewhat-absence from blog land. ;)

    Thank you, friend, for your faithfulness to me. I am so 'grateful' to have crossed blog paths with you!

  2. P.S. - Still trying to figure out how to be grateful for Sarah's crib escapes. I'll ponder on that today. ;) XOXO!

  3. Oh Sharon,
    Great Blog, I can second a lot of your things, but don't have a car to break down, that in itself, is difficult to be grateful for. Guess the immense pressure I feel under at the moment, is part of God trying to teach me something and test me, but like you say, it is not easy.

    Btw it was Mac Donalds, have answered you on my blog.

    God Bless - Nita.

  4. Sharon, if we dare call ourselves "great minds" then we're thinking alike. (Or maybe it's just that One great Mind thinking for us.)

    My SS lesson yesterday was on this exact topic.

    When Jesus blessed those few loaves and fish before feeding the multitude, he wasn't thanking the Father IN SPITE of the meager portion. He was thanking him BECAUSE of it.

    Had there been five thousand loaves and two thousand fish, the mulitude might have been well fed, but they would have missed a God Glory moment so wonderful that all four gospels did the yakabout.

    I really, really am practicing finding that hidden treasure among my own personal loaves and fish.

  5. wonderful thoughts you expressed here Sharon!! I struggle with being grateful where I am right now, but you know like I do that God is in control and he knows what is best. This hit home today, LOL, which is a good thing indeed!


  6. So very well said Sharon. All things do not feel good but it is purposeful. It produces something within us. Just have to keep reminded myself of it.

  7. Living them out in practice is almost impossible. I am so thankful God has forgiven us in ALL things.


  8. A hard thing -- but you're certainly right. It's so much easier to be thankful when life is going smoothly. I WILL praise Him in the storms!


  9. Well you just re-preached my pastor's sermon this weekend. He has been doing a study of of the best studies I have ever heard. He drove this point home this was one of those "put your face on the ground before a Holy God" momentS. When the man who is preaching it is struggling with brain cancer it takes on another meaning - it becomes life!

    Thanks for confirming again the words that God seems to be shouting out to his Body right now....In ALL things give thanks!! It is for My Glory!!!

  10. Hi Sharon -

    You expressed, "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."

    And "To learn that I have nothing and no one else in life to depend on fully, except for Him."

    I am on board with the gratitude journey, sister warrior, Sharon. Where will it lead us? Oh glory! Gratitude in league with living the words of GOD - leads to more of HIM. There is nothing better!

  11. Jennie - How I agree with you - I also get so frustrated with the "me me me" in me. You know?! I've really been camped out in Funk Land lately, too. That's what prompted this post. I just really needed to hear myself reiterate that ALL these things come from a loving and good God who truly cares for me. Sometimes, I just lose sight of that...

    Nita - Good old McDonald's!! Yes, testing is very difficult for me, too. I know that silver is refined by fire - but sometimes the fire is SO hot! Thanks, Nita, for your steady encouragement. You truly help me stand firm...

    Debbie - Great minds...hmmm. It is a little uncanny how God seems to put us on the same page! I was so blessed by how you worded your last comment - trying to find God's hidden treasure in my own meager fish and loaves. He must multiply - for at the moment, I am spent - the baskets are woefully empty. But, He is the Great Multiplier - He will increase my faith.

    Betty - How I know what you've been struggling with. Let me just say, that this post hit *home* with me, too! Control is a hard thing for me - especially when I cannot control things that scare me. I am grateful that God's strength does not rely on my ability to rely on Him. His strength is perfect. It's my strength that wavers - depending on how much I am depending on Him!

    Wanda - Thank you for that good word. I have some things happening in my life right now that do not feel good at all. I cannot see my way to their good purpose. But - that's where faith has to come to the rescue. Faith thrives on believing what cannot be seen. And my way is not God's way - and as you said, He ALWAYS works with purpose.

    Sandie - I am so grateful for a God who forgives my weakness, who loves me through the difficulties - and who always watches over me, no matter what. He will strengthen my feeble steps - I just have to keep walking toward Him!

    Pamela - Yes! Praising God in the storms is a matter of our WILL! You've really opened my mind to that truth again! I don't have to feel great, I just have to intentionally trust the One who is GREAT!!

    Janette - I can't imagine what it must be like to be in your pastor's shoes right now. But oh, it sounds like he is soaring above the storm!! What a blessing to hear his heart. Love the part in Habakkuk - even though (insert any number of struggles and difficulties here ), yet I will (praise the LORD!!)

    Sandra - There is nothing better than more of Him - amen to that! And sometimes when we have nothing else but Him, we are grateful for the gift of His presence alone. Lord, give me a ticket on the gratitude journey - even if it takes me through valleys and the wilderness!



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)