Not long ago I ran into a young man who is troubled, but yet has a heart hungry for the Lord. He’s a writer, and has some insights that shine through has battle in trying to succeed in life.
I overheard him talking on the telephone with someone. Before he hung up, instead of saying, “Have a great day,” he said something that has been going through my mind over and over since then.
“Have a grateful day.”
How I needed that instruction for my own heart.
I tend to focus on the negatives even though I have a life that has been richly blessed by the Lord. When difficult circumstances arise (I’m going through some right now), I can focus on what’s bad in my life, and instead of gratitude, griping words come out of my mouth fueled by a heart that has given in to self-pity.
After hearing what this young man said, I prayed, “Lord, help me to have a grateful day.”
And God is showing me how.
My eyes are being opened to all that’s good around me and to the good that’s coming from difficult situations.
When I’m outside, I can see the beauty of nature and thank God for that instead of being internally focused and fretting over the latest crises in relationships.
Just days ago I went to the emergency room with some scary symptoms and had to stay overnight for observation.
Even then God helped me to have a grateful day. Instead of spending my time worrying about what was wrong with my body and how much is all of this going to cost? I thanked Him for the kind and caring nurses, doctors, patient care techs and other hospital workers. I thanked Him for how healthy my body has been over the years. I thanked Him for the opportunity to let His light shine through me while I was in the hospital. I thanked Him that He was going to bring good out of the situation—even if I couldn’t see what it was at the moment.
I thanked God for my daughters and husband who kept me company and encouraged me throughout my ordeal of “losing control” of what my body was doing.
Not only did I thank God, but I thanked all the people I mentioned above.
And when the verdict came concerning my symptoms, I thanked God that it was not a more serious issue and that I could go home.
What I discovered as I’ve determined to make every day a grateful day is that my gratitude in the past has often come after a difficult time is over. God showed me that thanking Him and others in the midst of hard times helps me to have peace and to maintain confidence in Him.
When I think of a grateful heart, I remember what God instructs us all to do:
“in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB)
I notice it says “for this is God’s will for you.” When I’m doing God’s will, that’s when I sense how blessed I am and can maintain a deep joy—no matter what’s going on around me or in my body.
Even when things go from bad to worse, there is always so much to thank the Lord for—blessings that never change–like His love for me, my salvation, and His promise to be with me always. And the list goes on.
I’m becoming convinced that the way I handle difficult times is directly related to the gratitude level in my heart. When I’m grateful, hard times can be times I sense God’s closeness and His care for me. Forsaking gratitude brings misery.
Today and in the days ahead, I’m going to take the advice of the precious one God brought across my path to remind me to “Have a grateful day.”
How about you? Do you have a problem being grateful during hard times? Today will you choose to thank God and the people around you no matter what you’re going through? Discover that a grateful day can turn a grueling day into a great day.
Here is a “new song” I discovered today about being grateful.
“Thank You” Lord by Don Moen
Here are links to two more songs if you are still having trouble turning from “Grrr!” to gratitude.
“Thank You” by Hillsong
“Forever” by Chris Tomlin