This week I'd like to share a profound excerpt teaching from My Dearest Brother in Christ on Gratitude. Without his wise counsel the last 20 of my life would have been less enlightened.
“As disciples of Christ, we are commanded to...“sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving,”...
I have often wondered how we can be thankful in all things. What do we have to be grateful for when we feel, for whatever reason, that our world is falling apart? I have frequently struggled to “[give] thanks always for all things unto God” partly because understanding what it means to be grateful in all circumstances is an ongoing process.
“Perhaps focusing on what we are grateful for is the wrong approach. It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we can count.” While it is important to frequently “count [our] many blessings,” the Lord expects us to be just as thankful in our times of trial as in our times of ease. Most of the scriptural references do not speak of being grateful for things but rather suggest an overall spirit of gratitude.
Quoting an sister of faith:
"....We need to look at gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation. Instead of being grateful for things, we should focus on being grateful in our circumstances – whatever they may be.
Gratitude isn’t a way to ignore our problems or a quick fix for deep sorrow. Gratitude comes from actively remembering God and His goodness. It’s having eyes to see how He has worked in my life. It doesn’t come in the absence of pain; rather, pain can bring my need for the Savior into focus, and gratitude flows from remembering His grace and mercy to me in my hour of need.
It helps me to think of the phrase “I’m grateful for trials” as only part of the sentence—the full sentence is “I’m grateful for the opportunities for growth that have come through my trials. I’m grateful for the ways I’ve seen God at work in my life because of those circumstances.”
I don’t think that anyone would say, “Yes, I would like to lose ___________ [fill in the blank with job, loved ones, home, health, security, relationships, and anything else that has value in life].” I don’t think the people who lost everything in natural disasters this year were grateful when they saw the hurricane, fire, or earthquake coming toward them."
That's what our trials are meant to be: continual refining influences in our lives that help shape us into the people that God wants us to be.
In speaking of the Lord's covenant people, Isaiah quotes the Lord as saying:
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Zechariah says it thus:
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
As we approach the Easter season this month. Maybe it is a good time to place a new refined attitude of Gratitude in daily or weekly life. I know, I need to be more disciplined in doing so.
Music is courtesy Dierks Bentley, with Hold The Light from the soundtrack of the film Only The Brave.
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