Life can be hard. Problems in the workplace, trouble at home and rocky relationships are a mere fraction of the things that can make simply getting through each day feel like a monumental task. Even when we look beyond our own personal circumstances and observe what’s going on in the world, it’s evident that things are pretty messed up. Just last month, our news channels were dominated by yet another tragic act of violence when 17 people lost their lives at the hands of a teen killer. Amidst such terrible events, amidst the political, social and economic turmoil, it can be hard to identify exactly where God is.
A South African worship leader by the name of Trevor Sampson came to minister at my church last year and his message has stayed with me since. Trevor spoke about the importance of gratitude and the need to take time to thank God each and every day, regardless of where we may find ourselves. There will inevitably be times when you may not exactly feel like thanking God. I’ve experienced many frustrations concerning where I am in my life and it can be difficult to show the Lord the gratitude He deserves. However, as Trevor put so well, even when we feel as though we have nothing to say thank you for, the gift of our salvation in itself is more than enough.
In the book of Daniel, King Darius passed a law asserting that anyone found praying to gods or humans aside from himself during a 30-day period would be thrown into the lion’s den. This was a ploy to get Daniel, a respected and wise administrator who had put in charge of a whole kingdom, killed. If I were in that situation, I’m certain I would have felt overcome with fear, wondering why on earth my faithfulness to the Lord had caused me to end up in such a dire position. But this wasn’t how the Lord’s servant handled his circumstances. Daniel 6:10 says, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel’s gratitude towards God wasn’t dependent on whether he was in a favourable situation or not, it was a constant mindset.
Just like Daniel, we should intentionally make it a habit to show gratitude in all things. And in the times when you struggle to even utter the simple words ‘thank you’, remember that every breath you breathe, your ability to walk, to talk, to hear, to see, to think, to engage with others, to form relationships, to work, to earn, to eat, to drink, to laugh, to cry and to be in loving relationship with Christ completely free from condemnation are all wonderful gifts from our loving Father.
When you wake up tomorrow morning, before your feet even hit the ground, take a moment to give thanks.