“Gratitude is the overflow of a humble heart, just as surely as an ungrateful, complaining spirit flows out of a proud heart. Proud people are wrapped up in themselves. If people or circumstances don’t please or suit them, they are prone to whine or become resentful.” From Growing in Gratitude, www.reviveourhearts.com
Just read the book of Exodus, and notice how often the children of Israel go from rejoicing and relief to complaining and grumbling.
I am no different. When my eyes are set on my circumstances, what I do or do not have, whether or not I am noticed, how my physical body is or is not responding — I get caught up in despair, or anger. “Why can’t I have or do_____? Why don’t they ______?”
But God is not some cosmic killjoy. He is not in heaven scheming how he can make me miserable so I will be some object of his cruel joke on humanity. That is the stuff Greek mythology is made of. That is NOT the Sovereign God of the universe.
My human DNA wants to go my own way, make my own plan, be my own god. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–everyone–to his own way. . .” Isaiah 53:6
God loves me too much to allow me to continue to be my own worst enemy. As parents we do not allow small children to choose their diet. We know that they must have a balanced diet in order to grow and develop. They want to stay up late. We enforce nap times and bed time so their young bodies will get adequate rest. We put up restrictions all the time — don’t play with fire; don’t run in the street; don’t play with knives — not because we don’t care, but because we love them and we know better.
Gratitude is trusting God to “know better.” I would like to think that if I got some of the things I whine about that I would be ok. Fact is, I really don’t know that. What if having a healthy, working, pain-free physical body meant that I would continue on my self-focused, be-my-own-god, path to hell? Would a truly loving God allow me to continue to self-destruct and do nothing to stop it?
I keep coming back to this passage. When I was at my worst, God saved me. He used these words of the psalmist. . .
“When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart [pierced by grief or envy, wounded], I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward You.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
But as for me, it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.” Psalm 73:21-26,28
God, You know best. I am so grateful!
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