“Everything looks hopeless these days”.
The young man being interviewed on the television news grimaced and shrugged his shoulders. “When is it all going to end?” he mused.
As a pandemic sweeps the world, as friends and relatives fight for their lives, as the death toll rises, as businesses and nonprofits collapse, as people lose their jobs and find themselves without an income, as our freedom to move around is curtailed, as something even as simple as a trip to buy food becomes a significant undertaking, it is easy – and understandable – to have a similar outlook. The future can look bleak amid such an unprecedented and unexpected storm.
I have been reflecting recently on the importance of having an “attitude of gratitude”. At a time when anxiety and fear is rampant, thankfulness and gratitude are an antidote. If we are not radically grateful each day, then resentment, bitterness, hopelessness will quickly take control of our lives.
Being thankful is an ongoing theme throughout the Bible. As David – no stranger himself to times of trouble – says: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1) Even in the darkest of times, we can praise God for his love, his sovereignty, and his promises. We can let our worries drive us to the Father in petition and prayer. May we allow Him to work, allowing the truths that He is good, that He is present, and that He is in control sink deep into our lives. By growing in Him, we can actually put our anxiety to good use!
This morning I listed some of the things that I can be thankful for, from the past (my family’s time living in Lebanon, our friends around the world, seeing children’s lives transformed); from the present (my amazing wife and family, encouragement from good friends, God’s provision for our needs); and the future (new opportunities to serve, the promise of eternity with Christ). This was a timely reminder to me that life is a gift and there is much for me to be thankful for. And I find that the more I choose to be thankful, the easier it becomes. The more I practice gratitude, the more I notice things to be grateful for!
I love these words from Colossians 1:15-17:
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Why not list those things that you can be thankful for from the past, in the present, and for the future, praising God for his goodness to you? May we each make the decision to live with an “attitude of gratitude” today!