It can be hard to be grateful sometimes especially when hard and difficult circumstances come. It was like that for me a few months ago. I had major surgery then minor surgery in the same operation, then my uncle passed away a few days later then a former team member passed away a few days after that – all in the same week. God says we must give thanks in all circumstances not for all circumstances.
So how do we maintain our thankfulness or gratitude through those times. Let’s look at the meaning of gratitude first. Gratitude in the dictionary means the quality of being thankful and a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. That definition really opens gratitude up doesn’t it. When someone we love passes away, we can be grateful for the time we shared with them and the memories we now have. When we have surgery, we can be grateful that God gave us doctors and nurses and the ability to help us in those situations.
There are many stories of gratitude in the Bible. There is the woman with the issue of blood who was grateful she had been healed. The five thousand men and women and children were grateful when Jesus fed them. The Israelites were grateful when God led them out of Egypt where they were being harshly treated and abused. These stories all had happy endings.
But what about those times, when we have to be grateful when things don’t go our way. Some of the best examples come from the life of David. Before David became king, he was King Saul’s armour bearer and played music to soothe the king. But after a time, Saul became jealous of David so David fled from his presence. He went into the wilderness with a bunch of men who were dissatisfied too. However, Saul found out about it and started chasing David.
The story in 1 Samuel 24 is one of those times. Saul had come into a cave for personal reasons and David and his men were hiding in the cave. David went up to Saul not to kill him but to cut off a piece of his robe. Saul didn’t even notice. A little while later, David called out to Saul and told him that he had the opportunity to kill him. But even though his men told him too and the circumstances were right, David said he would not touch the Lord’s anointed one. David had the opportunity to right the wrong but instead showed kindness to Saul as he was the one God had appointed king.
Even though Saul was not grateful to David but was jealous, David was grateful for Saul and the position God had put him in. David was not grateful for the situation he was in but was grateful to God for giving him a prophetic word that he would be the next king.
Sometimes, as stated before, our circumstances mightn’t be good, the doctors report is bad or our kids are off doing things they shouldn’t. But we need to maintain our gratitude to God for all He has done for us in the past, all he is doing for us in the present and all He will continue to do for us in the future.
Today, find one thing to be grateful for from your past and today and thank God for the future He has for you as it is in His hands. Bless you heaps and keep living the life God intended for you.