Every-Single-Day Thankfulness

These days, it seems to me that gratitude is less and less the natural inclination of the average American heart. Maybe it’s the relentless focus our news sources give to harrowing world events, the way in which political battles have turned into mud-slinging matches or the fact that Americans in the 21st century – even those with a modest income – live better than all the kings of Persia in antiquity and yet are consistently encouraged by marketing, media and their parents to expect “better things.” Every time I turn around, someone near me is assessing what is wrong or what is lacking in their lives.

The Blessing of Another Day

The Blessing of Another Day.

I don’t exclude myself from this sort of ingratitude; before I go to bed at night and almost immediately upon awakening, my own soul’s self-talk is more often than not skewed to pull me right back into grumbling and complaining. I wake up to a thousand blessings and am at once tempted to grouse about the three or four areas of my life that have yet to be sorted out to my satisfaction. (Note the emphasis on “my” in that last sentence; consideration of God’s will for my life is rarely first in line.) Some days it takes several cupfuls of caffeine to rouse me sufficiently to the level of reviewing what I know to be true about God, His promises and His faithfulness.

On my better days, I wake and remind myself to “remember” to be thankful for the small blessings that would almost certainly move from the “Small” category to “Huge” were they ever to be taken away. Over time, this has become something of a daily routine to battle against my natural tendency to focus on the negative, the things I lack. When I consistently remember to do this, I find my enjoyment of these everyday blessings is heightened, expanded and filled in.

Eyes Open:
Thank you, Lord, for preserving my life throughout the hours of the night. Thank you for choosing, for whatever reason, to continue allowing me to borrow the gifts of life and breath from you while I complete this often-puzzling assignment as a human being in Your world, at this particular moment in human history.

Ears Engaged:
Father, I can hear my wife in the other room, doubtless praying to you, and more than likely praying for me in the bargain. Thank you for watching over her soul and mine, drawing both of us closer to you even as you tighten the heart strings that connect us to each other. I acknowledge the over-the-top nature of the gift you have given me, another human soul for whom I can pray and who will ask you to watch over me as well.

Other End of the House:
Lord, how amazing it is to wake up and hear my young son across the hallway in his room; stretching, grunting, rebelling silently against the idea that it is time for his day to begin. What an amazing soul he truly is…I find it absolutely incredible that you have entrusted him to me and my wife. (Well, me anyway…) Thank you for bringing him to us when you did; in all things, your timing is perfect.

The Blessing of Another WORK Day

The Blessing of Another WORK Day?

Night Stand:
OK, so it’s another work day. Lord, thank you for the blessing of work, even on those days when it doesn’t “feel like” a blessing. I’m grateful that you have taught me to beat down my own expectations in favor of yours, to be amazed that the city did not erupt into flames overnight and that you have ordained yet another day for your people to build up your Kingdom one tiny brick at a time; your patience is beyond my understanding!

So…does my body still work?
It does! Sure, it’s getting older all the time, and it doesn’t work quite as well as it used to, but for today I am grateful that I can stand up, walk to the bathroom and brush my teeth. A thousand mercies, all of them being sustained by your attention, none of them deserved.

The day will come, I know, when most of these everyday blessings will vanish. You are in no way “obliged” to supply my daily needs, and yet you do so, tirelessly and with great interest in the details. I don’t yet have a deep understanding of how all of these puzzle pieces will fit together in eternity, but you have said it is so, and for today, I can trust you with that. Should you choose to give me life again tomorrow morning, may my gratitude be even deeper than it is today. Amen.

This week, I invite you to join me in the effort to remember the ways in which your life is being sustained, even in the midst of a rough season. If you are still drawing breath, take even a small amount of time to thank God for the thousands of blessings He surrounds you with each and every week, and perhaps ask Him to open your eyes just a bit wider. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Psalm 107:1
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

Colossians 3:15-17
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

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