I met a man this past Friday who had lost his wife of 59 years just three weeks prior. She went in for surgery and never left the hospital. I was very impressed that, even in the wake of the loss of his wife— the confusion, the brokenness, that he had a heart that was so grateful to God for all the many blessings throughout his life. He repeatedly made the statement, “God is so good,” and he said this— not in a manufactured way such as we might experience at a Christian conference or a church service— but emphatically and in a deep satisfied way.
Gratitude such as this is a choice. It is fostered through looking beyond the hurt and pain, looking beyond the struggles and strife, and focusing on all that God has blessed us with. It is to allow those things to fill our heart and to give voice to our praise.
Fostering a heart of gratitude prevents negative behaviors such as complaining, gossiping, anxiety, anger, and bitterness.
Kenneth Boa wrote, “Gratitude is a choice, not merely a feeling, and it requires effort especially in difficult times. But the more we choose to live in the discipline of conscious thanksgiving, the more natural it becomes, and the more our eyes are opened to the little things throughout the day previously overlooked.”
The Bible says in Psalms 103:2-5, “Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your iniquities and heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion; who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Henri Nouwen wrote, “Every gift I acknowledge reveals another and another until, finally, even the most normal, obvious, and seemingly mundane event or encounter proves to be filled with grace.”