Gratitude is a Choice
Every year I look forward to watching movies closer to Christmas because these are what I call feel-good movies. The movies are intended to make you feel good because it’s about love, joy, hope, and perfect relationships.
But as you know life is not perfect. Bad things happen to good people. Tragedy can strike at any time and when it does it’s hard to process pain. We can have more questions and then answers. For example, why a loving God allows us to go through difficult times?
It’s during those times that the last thing I am thinking about is gratitude. Instead, I might be feeling anger, frustration, discouragement, conflict, or bitterness but gratitude is far from my list.
Yet, no matter what we are facing God is calling us to be grateful. Habakkuk a prophet in the Bible questioned God and his goodness. He wondered why God was letting evil and violence prevail during his time. He wondered why God was silent. It didn’t make any sense for a holy and just God sitting back letting his people be taken advantage by their enemy.
Later on, Habakkuk will learn that God was allowing them to go through trouble because He was disciplining the Israelites for their sin.
Sometimes God will tell us why we’re going through what we are going through other times he will not. But during those times let’s be like Habakkuk, even though life is not good, still give God thanks. Listen to the way Habakkuk prays
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, “yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.” Habakkuk 3:17, 19 NIV
Wow! He was saying there were no crops and the animals were dying but he was still going to rejoice in God. He was still going to have joy. He was going to rely on God’s strength.
Habbakuk understood that gratitude is a choice. Being thankful is not dependent on our circumstances it’s dependent on our God. God does not change but situations change. God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He’s the one that starts everything and will finish it. He is our constant.
With this perspective in mind, he gives thanks.
What about you? Despite your marriage, kids, health, job, death, finances, delays, interruptions, will you still give God thanks?
Can you find something in your life to be grateful for? I believe just like Habakkuk we can. We just need to look harder and deeper. And as the songwriter says “Count your Blessings, name them one by one and it will be surprise you with the Lord has done.”
How has God been surprising you lately?
Did someone donate money to you?
Did your parent come over and bring you food?
Did you get a new job position?
Is someone you were praying for feeling better?
No matter what you’re going through it will not last forever. This too shall pass. But until then give thanks. God is in control. God is sovereign and he will rule in the end and justice will prevail.