At our church in California a couple months ago, I complimented a lady's huge diamond ring. She replied, "Oh thank you. God is so good!" I was a little thrown off by her response. How often do you hear someone thank God when you compliment them on a material thing like jewelry? Later that day I saw her pull away driving a BMW. I told Kurt, "that lady has a huge ring and she drives a BMW, it's kind of funny because she looks like someone who's been through a lot in life. I wouldn't expect that." Later I learned that she'd been abused in a previous marriage and had indeed had a rough life. In recent years though, she'd married a wonderful Christian man who's loved and blessed her life. It made me smile and realize just how genuine her gratefulness was. It wasn't just that she had an enormous ring, it was that she was being redeemed.
This got me thinking, why is griping easier than verbally giving thanks? Maybe we're so accustomed to grumbling that it feels awkward to actually say, "I'm doing great, thank the Lord!" I don't know about you, but sometimes I'm afraid of being perceived as a corny, fake Christian that's always happy-go-lucky. Also, I've found that it's very difficult to be thankful if I don't really believe God has saved me, is and has taken care of me and is going to allow me to reign with him in glory. I think this is probably the ultimate reason being genuinely grateful can be difficult - it requires a humble heart that knows it's place in the universe. It's a testimony of your experience of and belief in God's love.
In the times I am grateful, I find myself letting go of insecurities, identifying areas of self-deception and finding boldness, that I know only comes from the Holy Spirit, to act and speak in love. The world comes into clearer perspective, needs around me are more apparent and my heart is full of compassion when I am thankful. I need to work on building my faith and letting my thanks giving be a testimony of God's goodness.
Just some thoughts I've had recently. It helps to put things in writing sometimes...and I hope this encourages or helps you in some way too.
Happy Labor Day everyone...don't labor too much ;).