All-Encompassing Gratitude

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4-7 (ESV)

I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop. And I am grateful.

Very grateful.

Grateful to be anywhere outside my home. OK… maybe not anywhere. I’m not neck deep in a vat or boiling tar, or detained indefinitely in a dank foreign prison cell, or attending a political rally.

And, don’t misunderstand me. I am grateful for my home.

But I’m grateful to no longer be under COVID-19 induced house arrest.

Gratitude is a habit I really should work harder to cultivate. If I would learn to see all good things as a gift from God – and this includes the painful and uncomfortable things I would just as soon reject but are good for me – my life would be so much more joyful and productive.

We should be grateful to the LORD for everything,, because everything is in His hands. He is in control. And in that we can all rest peacefully, especially when life feels out of control.

Be grateful when life is difficult, because He is molding me.

Shaping me.

Growing and refining me.

Leading me.

Be grateful for where I am in life. He has me at this station for a reason. I’m thankful I’m not king, not in charge. Who wants that responsibility? I’d foul everything faster than you can say “Uh-oh”.

Be grateful for all I have, tempered with the understanding that my greatest possessions are no tangible possessions at all, but the people God has put in my life, My family. My friends. The people who God put in my path to teach me, open my eyes, influence me. We recently lost a very dear family friend, someone I’ve known all my life. His passing started me thinking about the influence he had on me as a child. And my heart swelled with gratitude to God for having known him.

When we are grateful, the garbage in our lives refocuses, the feeling of hardship diminishes, our spirit flourishes and our life perspective corrects. When we approach God with gratitude, we recognize He alone is God. He alone has our best interests at heart (after all, His will is our best interest, and vice versa),

I am grateful to be in this coffee shop. Now I am grateful to be going home, where my wife and son are – who I am far more grateful for.

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