O nations of the world, recognize the Lord, recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the Lord in all His holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:28-30,34
If you’re anything like me, gratitude is a challenge. I focus on the neighbor’s dog that barks through out the night. I obsess about the stain that keeps reappearing in my white sink. I worry whether or not my varicose veins are a viable risk to my health. This is just a silly sampling of the many things that can rob me of gratitude. Are there issues of far greater concern? Yes, but I’m referring to the trivial stuff that can blind us and keep us from unleashing the joy of a thankful heart.
This morning I came across a story about gratitude and I want to pass it along to you. Not only was I greatly convicted, but also profoundly encouraged that gratitude is a choice. I can choose by the help of God’s spirit, to focus daily and often on the abundant goodness of God in my life. Here’s the story.
Robertson McQuilkin, former president of Columbia International University, tells of a time when, following his wife’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s and the death of his eldest son, he retreated alone to a mountain hideaway. He wanted time to reorient his heart and recapture a love for God that had slowly evaporated in the heat of personal, tragic loss.
After a day devoted to prayer and fasting, he began writing God a love letter, enumerating the gifts he had received from the Lord’s hand. He identified ten particular blessings from God that absolutely exceeded his imagination, things he could hardly find words to express how invaluable they were, how impossible life would be without them.
What I have done is worthy of nothing but silence and forgetfulness, but what God has done for me is worthy of everlasting and thankful memory.
Joseph Hall (1574-1656).