A Grateful Heart

By: Lisa Amrhein.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18.

Can expressing gratitude daily, even on the hardest of days, make a profound difference in our lives? The answer is a resounding YES!  Being able to give thanks to our faithful God even in the most difficult of circumstances is a mark of being a Christian.  Does that mean we do not cry or lament?  Of course not, we feel all the emotions that come with suffering and struggle, but we find comfort in a God that is our strength and holds us tightly during these times.  

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever.” -Psalm 136:1.

These words from Psalm 136 can be found in other parts of the bible as well.  They show our God to be a God who is good and faithful for His love is eternal.  For that reason, we offer Him praise and thanksgiving.  Gratitude is a form of both.  When we see the abundance of goodness and faithfulness that is God, we begin to shift our focus on Him and the problems and struggles of this life seem to lessen in comparison.  We will begin to change our perspective and live differently than we once did.  All things flow from God and if He brings us to it, He will carry us through it.  Although the outcome may not be what we hoped for, He is still in control.  He is using these times to deepen our faith and our relationship with Him.  Many lessons are learned in times of struggle.

At one of the lowest points in my life, a friend suggested that I try practicing daily gratitude.  Honestly, it was the last thing that I wanted to hear.  I was deeply struggling and every day seemed to be filled with tears, but I decided to give it a try anyway.  I began to write down each day 5 things that I was grateful for.  Some days it was just for a brief smile and on others it was for the breath in my lungs.  The later reminded me that God was not done with me yet and that began to stoke the fire that He had placed within me.  What hope that gave me!  While I no longer write an actual list, I Include gratitude in my daily prayers.  It is a comfort to my heart to remember that God is good and faithful despite our current circumstances. 

This time of the year can be difficult for those struggling or coping with loss.  Gratitude helps us to see God’s presence around us.   God has given us amazing blessings in our lives through the people we love, the places we have been, and many times through the kindness of strangers.  We can share stories of those whom we have lost as a form of gratitude for their presence in our lives.  Yes, there will probably be tears, but that is ok.  We can find hope in God’s promise that one day we will all be reunited and there will be no more tears and no more suffering. 

So why not try it?  Daily gratitude costs nothing and yet, it gives us so much.  We can find peace in knowing that our God is good and faithful.  During this season begin to write down 5 things that you are grateful for each day or if you prefer, thank God for these blessings in your daily prayers.  It is bound to remind you that our God’s love is everlasting and that is sure to put a smile on your face and bring comfort to your heart.

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” -Psalm 9:1.

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