“For all things are for your sakes, so that grace, having spread to more and more people, will cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NASB)
Gratitude. What do you think of when you hear that word?
For me, “gratitude” is a different way of life, a choice we make every day to create a positive and powerful attitude towards every aspect of our lives. When we live in a state of gratitude, we become a blessing to others!
A few months ago, a friend reached out wanting to share a particularly troubling season in her life. I listened attentively, but of course my mind swirled with one question: “have you thanked God for the situation you find yourself in?”
This may seem like an odd response. How can we possibly be grateful for hardship and pain? After all, when everything around us is going well – our jobs, our relationships or marriages, our financial situation – it’s easy to praise God.
But what happens when the doctor delivers bad news? Or the phone rings in the middle of the night with tragic news? Or a spouse of 20 years decides your marriage no longer works for them? How can we possibly be grateful in times like these?
There is a story from Acts 16:16-40 involving Paul and Silas. Beaten, stripped of their clothes, and locked in a dark prison cell, they were facing the grimmest of conditions. Yet even in the most dire of conditions, how did they respond? By praying and singing hymns to God.
Earlier in the bible, Job faced devastation. The Enemy had stripped him of his family, his possessions, his wealth, his physical health. In one day’s time, everything Job loved and valued was torn from his life, everything that marked his value in that world was gone. How did he respond? Job voices his faith: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
There’s an important lesson here for all of us. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where the enemy has beaten us down. These are precisely the moments when we need to thank the Lord. We need to pray. We need to praise. We need to demonstrate that, like Paul and Silas, like Job, we can come to God with praise regardless of our circumstances.
Gratitude is our way of demonstrating to God that we are devoted to Him with all our heart, all our strength, all our minds – not only in the best of times, but also in the worst! Here are a few of my favorite quotes about how gratitude can change our lives every day.
- “God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.” – Elizabeth Elliot
- “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” – Charles Spurgeon
- “God says to give thanks in everything. That doesn’t mean you need to give thanks FOR everything. You don’t need to give thanks FOR that bad day. Or FOR that bad relationship. Or being passed over at work. Financial hardship. Whatever it is – you are not to give thanks FOR the difficulties, but rather IN the difficulties. That is a very important distinction, and one I think we often miss. Giving thanks IN everything shows a heart of faith that God is bigger than the difficulties and that He can use them, if you approach Him with the right heart and spirit, for your good and His glory.” – Tony Evans
- “We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.” – J.I. Packer
- “No matter what our circumstances, we can find a reason to be thankful.” – Dr. David Jeremiah
- “There are three requisites to the proper enjoyment of earthly blessings: a thankful reflection, on the goodness of the giver; a deep sense of our own unworthiness; and a recollection of the uncertainty of our long possessing them. The first will make us grateful; the second, humble; and the third, moderate.” – Hannah More
- “If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace.” – Max Lucado
- “It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- “God is in control, and therefore in EVERYTHING I can give thanks – not because of the situation but because of the One who directs and rules over it.” – Kay Arthur
- “A sensible thanksgiving for mercies received is a mighty prayer in the Spirit of God. It prevails with Him unspeakably.” – John Bunyan
- “In happy moments, PRAISE GOD. In difficult moments, SEEK GOD. In quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. In painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD.” – Rick Warren
- “A thankful heart is one of the primary identifying characteristics of a believer. It stands in stark contrast to pride, selfishness, and worry. And it helps fortify the believer’s trust in the Lord and reliance of His provision, even in the toughest times. No matter how choppy the seas become, a believer’s heart is buoyed by constant praise and gratefulness to the Lord.” – John MacArthur
- “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” – C.S. Lewis
- “Be thankful. God has commanded it—for our good and for His glory. God’s command to be thankful is not the threatening demand of a tyrant. Rather, it is the invitation of a lifetime—the opportunity to draw near to Him at any moment of the day.” – Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
- “Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.” – A.W. Tozer
May God always guide your path.