Gratitude: something that I have been trying to cultivate more of in my life. This is, in part, due to this amazing book written by Ann Voskamp that I have read in the past year. In the same vein, my husband began a wonderful ritual each Monday morning when he meets with his team at his workplace. He asks each person to share one thing that they are grateful for. He told me that the group has decreed that they are not allowed to say they are thankful for a) coffee or b) the weather. I guess those items have come up enough that they demonstrate a lack of thought in the true spirit of the exercise (lol)! And yesterday he pointed me towards this post about the neuroscience of gratitude. Pretty cool!
Recently, on the (in)courage blog, a Scripture was posted and it really hit me hard:
“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 Saviour...”
I find that it is pretty easy to be grateful and joyful when things are goin’ my way! But what about when they are not? Am I still able to rejoice in the Lord? Am I able to be thankful for the things that I have, even in darker times?
In Philippians, chapter 4, Paul exhorts the church to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
If you remember a song from your childhood based on that verse, like I did, this is a sweet (and enthusiastic!) rendition by some little ones.
This exhortation is coming from a guy who knew what it was like to suffer. He had known pain and discomfort, shipwrecks and beatings, and yet he tells the Philippians (and us!) to rejoice despite our circumstances. Now I know that I have never been shipwrecked, nor beaten, but I have known suffering. We all have. And God knows every tear that we have ever shed.
Despite our tears, despite our pain, God asks us to rejoice in Him.
Perhaps this means to rejoice in who God is. Perhaps this means to rejoice in what God has done for us.
Rejoice, despite pain. Not easy. But perhaps another Scripture can shed some light here:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,
holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. “
Thanksgiving despite pain seems like sacrifice. And when we offer ourselves as living sacrifices in this way, it becomes an act of worship; an expression of our love for God.
Gratitude is still something I strive towards each day. Perhaps you’d like to join me?