Grumble. Moan. Groan. “Everything’s going wrong.”
Does that sound familiar?
When life sends us curved balls, do we start to complain and blame everyone around us, including God?
What about when life’s going well? When blessings pour down from heaven. We’re happy, then. We rejoice. We stop grumbling, groaning and moaning. But do we take the time to thank God? To praise him for his gracious generosity. To worship him for his abundant love. And how does this gratitude for God’s blessings make us feel and behave?
The joy in our hearts is infectious. It’s like a spreading vine. When we’re singing, dancing, or smiling our family and friends will want to share our joy. Strangers we meet at the supermarket or in the shopping centre will smile back at us. They, in turn, will smile at other strangers. Go home and smile at their family members. Those smiles will change the mood of the whole day. It reminds me of that old song:
Pack up your troubles in our old kit bag
And smile, smile, smile…
What’s the use of worrying,
It never was worthwhile,
So – pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
And smile, smile, smile
There are so many things we can thank God for. Here are just three:
The sunrise, the sunset, the sky, the clouds, the trees, the birds, the mountains, the sea, the animals…
Children know how to thank God. As the Sunday school hymn goes:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures, great and small,
All things wide and wonderful
The Lord God made them all
Parents, siblings, close friends, the church, our pastors, the Christian community, our own Christian faith…
As the Psalmist says, God sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68,6)
How gracious is God to bless us with close family and friends to journey through life with?
Jesus taught us to ask God for our daily bread. When God provides us with more than that, our hearts should swell with gratitude. Also, when we are grateful to God, we are more likely to share with others who are struggling financially or who do not even have their daily bread.
Gratitude can unleash a flood of generosity.
How about when things are going badly? We don’t feel too thankful to God then!
We’re really worried about a relative who’s so sick that we don’t know if she’ll last the month. We’re scared. The warring gangs are spilling over into our suburbs. We’re concerned about our finances and the rising cost of living – will our money last till the end of the month?
Here are just three things to thank God for in hard times:
Thanking God that he listens to us helps us to be calm. When we pray, we can be at peace that our relative is in God’s loving hands. We can accept that even though life is difficult at times, God is always there for us.
Thanking God for his protection when things are getting hairy is like having a healing balm to soothe our souls. As the Psalmist says, He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge. (Psalm 91,4)
Gratitude for God’s protection is a powerful way of making you calm, especially if you explore the Psalms.
Be grateful for God’s many promises. Then you will feel like praising him even in the midst of ‘floods’. He has promised people of the Christian faith that he will be with them always:
I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41,10)
So whether life is going well or badly for you, being grateful to God will unleash a powerhouse of blessings. You will want to praise and honour God for his generosity and care, and so will the people around you.