Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I am grateful

Giving thanks when every thing is good and rosy is not difficult at all; the challenge in giving thanks and exhibiting a grateful attitude is when things are not going your way, when things are out of your control and when the things you desire seem to be out of your reach. Giving thanks in all circumstances then becomes something you consciously order your soul to do.

Over the past week, I came to appreciate better what it must have been like for Jesus to be despised. The Son of God hanging on the cross with all the shame of iniquity and many afflictions laid upon Him, separated from His glory just because of me—held guilty and literarily punished for the sin He did not commit.

When you are treated as if guilty of an offense and yet you don’t know what your crime is. When you know you are also a victim but that does not seem to matter. At such moments, it takes more than will power not to shout out—why me? What have I done to deserve this? What have I neglected to do to prevent this? What do you do when the label of your affliction screamed like a bill board and the restraints of isolation felt like it would choke the very life out of you? Imagine for a moment a day in the life of the woman with the issue of blood who suffered many things in the hands of the physicians. When your affliction becomes the label by which people identify and treat you, it hurts and deeply too—every fiber in you seem to cry out—this is not fair!

It was at that low ebb that the song by Tommy Walker filtered into my spirit – “When I don't know what do do, I'll lift my hards, when I don't know what to say, I'll speak Your praise”—it commanded me to be a worshiper. I searched for the song and sang it over and over again. Along with it also came – “Grateful, Lord I am grateful for all You done for me” by Kurt Carr. The two songs became my close companions and source of comfort in that dark valley.

Yes, I am grateful for all You have done for me. Yes, with the deep pain and hurt in my heart, I am grateful God is with me and He comforts me. He lifts up my head and holds it high. I find my worth defined in who He has called me to be. It is so important for us to know who we are in Christ Jesus, and to hinge our worth on Him. No matter how hard the devil tries he can not redefine who we are in Christ Jesus.

Gratitude and joy are intricately woven together. The more grateful I am the more thanks I express, the more my spirit is lifted up and the more joy overflows in my heart. So I chose the path of gratitude—took a look back into this year and began to count the many things I have to be grateful for. I am grateful for the new friends made, new contacts established, divinely engineered connections, many new beginnings … My list became quite long in the process. I considered also the many “what ifs”—the alternate possibilities that God delivered us from. A stretch of imagination alone will cause us to be grateful for the unseen Hands of God working on our behalf and for His faithfulness to His word.

We all have our different stories of the sufferings and difficulties we have to endure—some physical, some emotional. When we endure the heat of the trials, a beautiful and godly character is produced in us as precious metals are refined in fire (1Pet 1:6-7). God will never allow us to be tried beyond what we can bear but with every trial He makes a way for escape (1Cor 10:13). The way of escape for me was to switch my focus from the pain and distress to the many blessings God has poured into my life. With that came the lightening of the burden—it took the sting out of the pain— it prepared me to receive the comfort only God can give.

Whatever struggles you may be faced with, God will always provide a way of escape. One ready way is to have an attitude of gratitude and to give thanks even in that situation. Will you show gratitude to God in a tangible way in the coming weeks? Look beyond your circumstance—seek to touch someone's life for good, lighten someone's burden or go out of your way to be a blessing to somebody in a tangible way.

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others"
- Marcus T Cicero.

"Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count past mercies."
- Charles E. Jefferson


Kurt Carr - Grateful lyrics

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