Are you facing a circumstance that just doesn't naturally call for gratitude? You're trying to be brave. You want to do the right thing. You've sensed the joy and vibrancy draining from your spirit. But trying to be thankful for what God is doing in your life right now . . .
It's tough. Really tough. In fact, it seems impossible. In our own strength, it is impossible!
The choice before you and me today is: Do we only give glory to God for the part of our life that's going the way we want? Or do we worship Him, trust Him, and give Him thanks, just because He is God—regardless of the dark, painful, incomprehensible places we encounter in our journey?
Look, it's a sacrifice either way. If we go on without gratitude—choosing to be bitter, constantly bemoaning our fate—we force ourselves to live in already unhappy conditions with the added drag of our gloomy disposition. Unwilling to stay mindful of the blessings we enjoy in spite of our difficulties, as well as the strength and sensitivity God grows best in us through hardship and loss, we sacrifice peace. We sacrifice contentment. We sacrifice relationships—and freedom and grace and joy.
But what if we could maintain all those things—and even increase them beyond anything we've ever experienced before—by making just one sacrifice: the sacrifice of thanksgiving?
I have learned along the way that, regardless of how I may feel, anything that makes me need God is (ultimately, in the truest sense) a blessing. Be it disappointment. Be it physical suffering. Be it mental or relational anguish.
And if you must go through what you're facing now anyway (should God choose not to lift it miraculously, which He can always do and we are always free to pray for), why make it even worse by withdrawing from His grace and fellowship, enduring life on the raw edge without relying on Him for help? Why not see what could happen if you let the pain drive you closer to His side?
Yes, to give thanks "in all things" may require a sacrifice. No,it may not change your situation, perhaps not even a little. But it will put you in the only possible position for experiencing everything God desires for you throughout this hard stretch of life.
And—beyond the tiny piece of horizon you can see from this momentary time and place—God's glory and grace will be seen even more brightly, as a result of your willingness to say with the psalmist: "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Ps. 34:1).
That's the promise of gratitude.
Copyright Moody Publishers. Adapted from Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy, pp. 137–140. Written by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Used with permission.