Do you think it’s possible to be grateful for things that don’t seem very pleasant, or at ALL pleasant, at the time you are experiencing them? Maybe possible, but not very probable?
Do you think God is honored by our lips uttering Thank You, when are hearts are heavy and broken with the pain of sadness or loss?
Is there any personal gain in a posture of thankfulness, no matter the circumstance?
This is where I can’t answer for anyone but myself, and have nothing but my own experience to draw from. My losses have been big. Relationship and Health, to name two big categories. There are others that best go unnamed…we all have those.
What you may or may not know about me is that I am FAR from perfect. Really, really, really in process, people. I’ll list a few of my in-process character flaws for you here: impatient, insistent, know-it-all, impulsive, and incredibly disorganized. I can look good, but I’m really just as broken as you are. This admission is critical lest you mistakenly think I’m somehow not as…flawed as the rest of us are. I promise you, I am.
The realization of my state of brokenness put me in a position of thankfulness, by the way. That was the starting line for me.
I also had a theology that included the expectation that life here includes some measure of sadness and sorrow. That there is value to be had in suffering, if you will. I realize that this is unpopular, but that life view helped me when I came face to face with loss. I don’t recall a crisis of faith. I didn’t question the ultimate goodness of my God, and I do know that I have been able to keep going, despite real and deep hurt.
You can’t, wait…I couldn’t… see clearly when I was in the middle of a mess. But I knew deep down that if I kept walking, at some point those clouds would break, and my thankfulness uttered in confusion would give way to gratefulness for what pain yields.
Thankfulness cried out in hurt is a gritty gratefulness, a heart determined to cling to what you know to be true. God is good, no matter how dark the day. God is for my good, no matter how deep the pain. And I want my life to bring God glory. Gratefulness is but a road.