Today is the last in this short series on gratitude. Many thanks to Liz for allowing me to share her series here. Don’t forget to remember their family when purchasing on Amazon! In case you missed the first part of the series; one, two, three, four, and five.
So now that I’ve learned these things, I have no problem expressing gratitude for every circumstance that comes my way, right? Surely my hand and heart constantly remain open to whatever God has for me in every moment of every day?
False. Absolutely not. I forget – over and over again.
I wake up exhausted and think Really?? Another day of this?
An uninvited change takes place in my life and I say This is not what I want. How can You throw that curveball at me and expect me to be joyful in it?
A friend shares a burden, and I close my hand right up and say No God. This is not fair. This is too much. This is not good.
Once again I must remind myself of the things I know to be true. I must remember that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away (Job 1:21). I must go back to the gospel. I deserve nothing good. Yet, God in his mercy graciously gives me all things!
God gently reminds me that though I may feel my circumstances are robbing me of the ability to be joyful, the actual joy thief here is my idolatry. My insistence that I know what’s best for me. My tight grip on the superficial happiness this world has to offer. My refusal to acknowledge God’s love for me in the midst of His sovereign plan for me. These are the things that rob me of joy.
Reorienting to the cross – to the truth of God’s great love for me despite my sinful heart. This is where I must start. This is where I must go to be reminded that if God loved me enough to give up His only Son for me, everything He brings into my life is for my good. Every. Single. Thing. When I release my desires and open that hand back up to whatever He has for me, the joy I thought had been taken away once again emerges.
And I’ll forget again. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in 10 minutes. But no matter how many times I forget, God is still faithful and His love is unfailing! Over and over again I come to the cross. Over and over again He loves and forgives. This is the gospel. Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.
To close, here’s another song I’ve been loving recently, thanking God for the heartbreak. Even in my worst times, You’re my reason and rhyme…
But I am not a woman who ever lives the full knowing. I am a wandering Israelite who sees the flame in the sky above, the pillar, the smoke from the mountain, the earth open up and give way, and still I forget. I am beset by chronic soul amnesia. I empty of truth and need the refilling. I need come again every day—bend, clutch, and remember—for who can gather the manna but once, hoarding, and store away sustenance in the mind for all of the living. - Ann Voskamp