Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. ~ James 1:17-18
How easy is it to get caught up in the glitz and glam when life begins coming together and things are on the upswing? Many forget about God’s goodness, grace, mercy and loving kindness when life is going well. They begin to neglect their quiet time with God because, in their finite minds, they don’t believe they need God since life is good and they’ve “arrived.” Oh how very narrow minded they are!
Ephesians 2:8 reminds us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God.” God created us for His purpose (Ephesians 2:10), in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27) and He gave His only Son for the redemption of our sins regardless of whether we were worthy or not (John 3:16). We soon forget these things because our selfish human nature (Jeremiah 17:9) convinces us that our successes have come about because of what we have done vs. what God has done.
I am no different, however, God has a way of reminding me of where I’ve come from and the necessary life lessons endured to arrive where I am currently. I thank Him daily for the things shown to me and my humble spirit. Had it not been for Him, my life would still be a living hell or have ended long ago. Thinking back to my childhood and the harrowing situations my siblings and I were in, it was God who kept us.
When poverty consumed our lives and we didn’t know where our next meal was coming from, it was God who provided a meal at just the right time. When shelters and rooming houses became our home, it was God who dispatched his angels to keep us safe. When thoughts of suicide riddled my young body, it was God who didn’t allow that bottle of prescription pills or cleaning fluid to end my life. HE CREATED ME ON PURPOSE FOR A PURPOSE!!! I am forever thankful that He, sitting so high, thought so much of me, a mere human being, loved me, kept me from the ills of life because He had a work for me to accomplish on this side of heaven.
Reflecting over my life and seeing His hand in every area of it, how can I ever become complacent and not thank Him each and every day? Thankfulness is a purposeful practice/habit cultivated from a spiritually healthy heart on a continual basis; not just when things are going well. There are days I just don’t want to be bothered, but God sends a gentle reminder and prods my spirit. On those days I thank Him for His presence. On days when small blessings come, a letter from a student telling me that they admire and respect me and why, I thank God because He is at the core of my being and orchestrates what I do in the classroom. On those days when my kids are working my last nerve, He reminds me that there are barren women who would love to be in my shoes…I thank Him for my children despite their behavior. Those days I just feel like curling up into a ball and crying to cleanse my soul, I thank God for allowing me to feel emotions and having sense enough to let them out.
Learn to cultivate a thankful heart despite what is going on around you (1Thessalonians 5:18). God can do so much more when you realize that HE is in control and has the final say in everything our lives encompass. HE alone is worthy of all praise…(Psalm 145:3)