Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 NIV
As the sun peeked over the horizon dazzling the morning sky, an ominous black cloud of oppression slowly crept upon me. Circumstances, doubt, financial woes, and problems with children magnified as the dark force threatened to render me sad and hopeless. It had happened before, usually out of the blue. Something would trigger it, and pretty soon I’d be sent spiraling, gasping for breath into the deluge of darkness.
Those times were often lonely as I drowned in insecurity, self doubt, fear, and feeling a lack of control in my life. I sought desperately for peace in my soul. That’s when, over time, the light of God’s word, like streaming sunshine overcoming the darkness, began to magnify His truth and set me adrift with hope and joy. I also uncovered the transformational capacity of simple gratitude!
Gratitude has a way of blowing away clouds of despair and replacing them with sparkling joy deep down inside the heart. This is no accident. Scripture is brimming with commands for God’s people to “praise”, “give thanks”, and “make a joyful noise”. There are also noted instances of “grumbling” and examples of ingratitude. In one such incident, Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one returned to thank him. Jesus himself said,
Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? Luke 17-18 NIV
We were made to be thankful. It pleases and delights our Creator when His created ones praise Him. We, who were created in His image, also find pleasure when someone notices the good we’ve done and takes time to express it to us! Gratitude builds up and multiplies joy.
True gratitude transforms me by adjusting my perspective. I receive new eyes, fresh energy and indescribable joy as I make it a daily practice. It certainly can’t fix my circumstances or make my problems go away; but it definitely makes me aware of the sunshine in the midst of a storm.
Do you remember these words from that old commercial for “LIFE” cereal? “Why don’t you try it? You might like it.” Mikey tried it and uncovered a delicious new treasure.
Here are some ways to infuse a daily dose of gratitude into your life:
Father, Your word is a lamp unto our feet and it lights our path. Thank You for the treasures and delights in Your word. Forgive us when we grumble and complain, for ingratitude is a sin against You. Teach us to be grateful always! In Christ’s name, Amen.