Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.
Anything from a ray of sunlight warming my knees as I sit on the sofa, to the cheep of a chickadee, to a hot cup of tea, a tasty treat, time with loved ones, a good story, the hush of a snowfall, the laughter of a child, a power nap, a shared smile, and even the less obvious: enjoying clean floors after mopping, hanging fresh clothes in the closet, washing the pots and pans that made a meal, and neverending clutter (the evidence of a living family!). The simple (yet profound) act of saying, “Thank you, Lord,” for each and every gift has opened the door to a much deeper and more intimate relationship with God than I was able to have before. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, enter his courts with praise.” It really is an open-sesame to the presence of God.
I know though, when life is grim, giving thanks can feel next to impossible. Food tastes like gravel, material possessions seem meaningless, and sunshine taunts an overcast soul.
But it turns out giving thanks is a veritable life line.
It can save us from drowning when the wind and the waves rise up around us like a tsunami. And it’s not about pretending everything is fine and suppressing emotion: it’s searching for God’s grace, God’s gifts and providence, even as our hearts break and the tears stream down our faces.
My life may sometimes lay in shambles, but here is a sweet little bird on a tree branch singing, delicate throat quivering as it joyfully lives out its created purpose, here is a swath of glistening snow across the yard, here is a warm coat embracing my shoulders, here is a glass of water to soothe my aching throat after a time of weeping, here is a comforting Bible verse or written word, here is a cheerful song on the radio that gets the foot tapping, here is a silky kitty on my lap, Advil for a headache, and two working hands I can use to bless someone else in need with a meal or a hug. All around me God’s gifts keep falling, gently, never ceasing. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
Even in our darkest hour he is still there, in the valley of the shadow of death, there with his rod and staff to comfort us. “I will never leave you or forsake you,” says the Lord. We are truly blessed to know the One to whom we give thanks.
Time passes, we emerge from the valley, and food tastes sweet again, material possessions once more have their appropriate meanings, and sunshine thaws the chilly soul.
This too is a gift – emerging. We have not been abandoned, he still leads us by the hand.
No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best . . . when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things. ~ George MacDonald