It’s easy to be grateful when life is going well. When we look around and the bank is full, the bellies are full and the plans are coming to fruition just as we had hoped. Then we can easily give thanks. Or can we?
It seems easier to find the lack than the abundance sometimes. It is easier to whine than to praise. How then do we find gratitude in the end of a year of loss, pain, fears, pandemics, politics and judgements?
What about when we don’t FEEL grateful?
“I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages,” Charles Spurgeon once wrote. To kiss the waves of pain, loss and heartache. To be grateful for the thorns on the rose not just the fragrance. To find joy and contentment not in abundance but in lack too. It’s a learned skill to be grateful when we don’t feel it. To demand it of our heads when we lack it in our hearts.
Life overflows with pain. For some reason, we have forgotten that. We sit around wishing for the Egypt past when God calls us to far more ahead. But we have to go through the wilderness, the mask wearing, the social distancing and even more, the pain of great losses.
Psalm 46 doesn’t say the Lord is a very present help in our joys but rather in our trouble. Why? We don’t need help in joys. At least, we don’t think we do. But oh, in sorrow, in trials, in the wilderness, our awareness of our need for Him becomes great.
But greater still is the One who meets us there.
What if this year we remembered not only to be grateful for that which comes easily, naturally and freely. But rather be grateful for that which is a wave that nearly breaks us. What if this year we gave thanks for the nearness of God, a very present help in trouble?
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