For what are you grateful this day?
In previous posts I have written about how gratitude is good for us emotionally and physically. Gratitude is the exciting new “star” in the emotional and physical health literature. And of course, being thankful is the most common admonition found in the scriptures. The Psalms tell us that it is good to give thanks to the Lord, and we now see that it is actually good for us to be grateful.
But what about when things are really difficult, very uncertain, even dark and looming?
Life-changing events are often viewed negatively. We are most comfortable remaining in a static state. We like things to stay smooth, and we do not like interruptions to our routines, our comforts, our normal way of living and being. And few events in recent times have been as disruptive to our static state than the Covid 19 pandemic and the societal response to it.
We tend to be satisfied with the things that go well for us according to our expectations. Satisfied, yet not often expressive of our gratitude to our God. We swim in a sea of our God’s mercy every day. We breathe in the oxygen of His endless love for us all the time. And His grace is raining down on us in the midst of every situation. When we go through our darkest times, the mercy, love, and raining grace of our God do not diminish. Often these are intensified in our difficulties and disruptions.
Every good thing, many of which we do not see as good because they do not meet our expectations, comes to us from our God. We experience the steady rain of His grace daily. We are alive because of Him, saved because of Him, fed because of Him, protected because of Him. Even in our losses and discomforting circumstances we continue to experience His daily mercies, love, and graces. We may even experience more of them in these times. We can be aware of the “more” of these if we are tuned into our God and looking for His love, mercies, and graces.
Is there a pathway to recognizing more of the love, mercies, and grace rain that is flowing into our living every day?
Yes. That path is gratitude. Gratitude expressed toward our God for the love, the mercies, and the raining graces helps these to become apparent to us. The more we thank, the more we see. Equally important to us is this: the more we express thanks to our God for His seamless love, His flooding mercies, His raining grace, the more our God can supply these to us. Our gratitude opens our hearts, allowing more to be given.
Being thankful is at once a discipline, an enlightened path, a source of spiritual supply, and the connection to greater grace in our lives. When we begin to take note and give thanks often, the eyes of our hearts are opened to see more of the gifts and graces, mercies and miracles He is spreading along our path. As we see more, we thank more. As we thank more, we become open to receive still more.
It is important for us to let gratitude continue flowing out of our hearts and mouths, especially in our trials and difficulties. The more we thank our God from the heart, the more we are able to see and absorb the spiritual supply He is providing every day. This is the manna that feeds us in the wilderness. The more grateful we are, the more manna we are given. The cycle of gifts and grace and manna and thanks yields in us a greater outpouring of His grace in us and through us.
It is, then, for our good that the command to be thankful is the most common command in the scriptures. Our God desires to rain grace upon us daily, for grace is the power for us to live holy lives in communion with Him. Yet we can restrict our access to that grace when we are ingrates.
Whether the events and gifts in life are those you expected or not, whether they fit your plans or not, know that they are God-ordained for your good. Even the difficult situations in life come to us with full knowledge and the full love of our God. The giving of thanks in every circumstance will free you, feed you, fill you with grace-gifts, and fulfill you at your deepest levels. Acceptance of all circumstances and giving thanks with sincere gratitude in them is the pathway to greater things.
Have you thought of the various factors for which you can be grateful in this time of pandemic and societal upheaval? Certainly, these are numerous everyday, for our God is at work by His grace in every circumstance.
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you.