I’ve heard it said many times by many people—from Joyce Meyer to my Pastor to Jesus—it’s important to be grateful. I admit that expressing gratitude is pretty easy for me to do when life is going well.
Think about it: If on a clear, blue-sky day when the sun is shining (but not too hot, of course), you’re having a great hair day, and your favorite jeans fit perfectly, you could easily rattle off five things to be grateful for, couldn’t you? (I just gave you three right there; you just have to come up with two more!)
This gratitude stuff is so easy, right?!
How To Be Grateful Even When You’re Not
Not so fast: How do we express gratitude when everything around us seems to fall apart? Are we supposed to be grateful when tragedy strikes? In my opinion, the answer is yes. Always yes.
I’m not suggesting that we should be thankful for tragedies that have caused us pain or suffering. Far from it. I’m saying that despite tragic times when life is falling apart and everything sucks, you can still find something to be thankful for.
When my brother passed away from pancreatic cancer six years ago, just one year shy of his 50th birthday, I wasn’t thankful. I was sad, anxious, hurt…and grateful: grateful for the 44 years I shared with him on this Earth.
At the end of my brother’s eulogy I wrote:
“We will not understand, while still on this earth, why life may be cut short,
but we can trust in everlasting life in
eternity and know that he is now in a perfect body and a perfect place.
The day that we fear as our last is but the birth of eternity.
Until we meet again
I was grateful for the time God had given me with my brother, and also extremely thankful for my family and friends who comforted me during—and what remains to be—the most difficult time in my life. Without the love and support of those closest to me, I would never have come out the other side of this devastating loss stronger than I was before.
The loss of my brother was even more difficult for my mom. She lost a son. Yet, through this heart-wrenching time, she found gratitude and expressed thanks for her other two kids and her four grandchildren. In that difficult time of pain, loss, and suffering, my family and I learned to be grateful for our lives and for those who were still part of them.
God Can Help You Through
Matthew 11:28-30 reads:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
What I’ve learned from life’s pleasures and disappointments, from the ups and downs, and from the successes and failures I’ve experienced is that I have a lot to be thankful for and that even on my worst days God is by my side holding my hand, providing unconditional love, and wiping my tears.
And for Him I am forever grateful.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
What Are You Grateful For?
Will you chose to look at the positive and be grateful for what you have today?
What are you grateful for today? Share your comment below.
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