I believe most of us would agree that 2020 hasn’t been the year that exactly inspires gratitude. There’s no need to recap the seemingly endless parade of catastrophes, frustrations, setbacks, and pitfalls that all have experienced so far this year. These setbacks, frustrations, and pains have been all of the magnitudes imaginable – and yet here, we are, arrived at a holiday created as a day of gratitude, of joy, and of remembrance of the blessings of the year so far. How will we respond to the unsteadiness of this time? What will our attitude be towards the trials we have endured? We have two choices:
“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G.K. Chesterton
Something I have become aware of these last few months is that I complain more than I used to. The phrase “Don’t get him started, he won’t stop for an hour” has been said in my vicinity, and it would be easy for me to dismiss this as a by-product of the times. Yet, deep down I know this is my pride trying to rationalize my failure to live up to the standards God has placed upon me. Philippians 2:14-15 says that we are called to “Do all things without complaining or disputing” so that we may “shine as lights in the world,” and I know I fail to live up to that more often than not. The only alternative is gratitude. Gratitude helps save you from the poison of bitterness. Gratitude is a way to help maintain some sanity on a stormy night. And when I take a moment to look around, especially at my wife and children… I realize I have more to be thankful for than I could ever ask for.
God help me (and all of us) to have gratitude at all times.
Especially times like these.
Some may feel as though we have nothing to feel thankful for, and nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s a simple test:
Put your hand over your heart. Is it still beating? Yes?
Then God still has plans for you, and that is something to shout from the mountain tops and it is definitely something to be thankful for every day.
No matter the circumstances you may have gone through and may be going through, if you’re still breathing, then you still have a purpose and a part to play in God’s plan on this planet. The same God that created the universe and shaped you down to your last atom, the same God that died so you could have hope in eternity, is keeping you alive because He has more in store for you. (Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? – Matthew 6:26 ESV)
What a thing to be thankful for!
My hope is that we all use this season to grow deeper in gratitude for the blessings we have, the big, the small, the noticed, and especially the unnoticed.
Give thanks – we are all more blessed than we really know.