Last night we were sitting around the living room at Friday Soup Night (the night when our small group meets). Karen had made a huge pot of scrumptious chili, the kids were playing outside, and we were getting down to business. The joking and fun takes the edge off our week, but it’s the prayer time after dinner that we all need.
It had been a hellish week for a number of us. Sue Rogers had gone into the operating room expecting to have some lumps removed only to be told that some of the cancer had escaped to the lymph system and she’d need chemo first. Scott Nelson was taking off in the morning to be with his dad in Seattle who has just contracted leukemia. Kathryn Almand’s knees are in bad shape. And I could make a list of other people’s needs that would exhaust you to read.
But when Sue talked about how she felt after getting her news and it put everything i perspective. “Mostly I just feel ridiculously grateful for everything. It’s like I’m seeing it for the first time.” The house and all that’s in it, her family, the dog, her church, the life she’s had. It’s all been a huge gift. Somehow rather than being bitter at God for putting her life in jeopardy, she see’s her life with fresh eyes and she’s grateful.
Yes, life can be really hard. It can seem unfair. But we need to meet it with an attitude of gratitude. Having a thankful heart helps us come into alignment with God’s divine order. His creation shines with creative energy. It is under attack from an evil enemy, but God is a redeemer and his plan is to take those things that are broken and set them right. In fact, his intent is to use our brokenness as a tool to begin the redemption process.
We cooperate with God as we take note of everything he has placed around us that is a gift. As we thank him for his good gifts, it releases a positive energy – faith – that can be harnessed to accomplish his purposes. Life works much better when we’re working in tandem with our creator rather than pulling against him.
It’s why the Psalms are so profound. Here is David, under duress, attacked on every side. Yet he still thanks God for his goodness. As he writes the Psalms, David is like Jimmy Stewart at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The things that were an object of wrath, in the light of grace, he now sees as gifts. As he reviews his history with God, he can’t help but see God’s goodness.
Do you find yourself struggling to cope with a set of circumstances that seem stacked against you? My suggestion is to begin thanking the Lord for the stuff in your life that is working. Read Psalm 136 to jump start yourself and share some of what you’re thankful for with us in a comment below. Turn your attitude around. Make a list of things for which you’re grateful. How long is your list? There’s more good stuff in our lives than we realize and we need to thank God for it.