Written by: Brianna Williamson
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Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.
- Psalm 89:13 -16
For what reason should we be grateful?
A couple of years ago, I went through a period of high anxiety. I had just graduated college several months prior and I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to transition into adulthood and my new job perfectly. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had a gigantic fear of failure and I desperately wanted it to appear like I had my life together. My confidence came through the approval and pleasing of others and not from God.
As I read back through journal entries I wrote during that time, I can see that my prayers were very self serving and even though I would have claimed to be at that time, I was not grateful for all of the things God had blessed me with. In my heart and mind I wasn’t focussed on God’s goodness but on all the things that I didn’t yet have.
One day, I was feeling a little extra frustrated. I thought I was doing all the “right” things so why wasn’t everything going the way that I thought that it should? But instead of taking things to God in prayer, I went shopping. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was shopping for, but in my browsing I ended up in the jewelry section of a JC Penney. I started looking at some dainty, silver rings that had caught my eye. Upon closer inspection I saw that all of the rings had different words etched into them.
The only ring that they had in my size was one that said “HOPE” and my first thought was most definitely, “Well, that’s kind of cheesy.” I moved on, looking at some other things but after a few minutes of not finding anything else of interest I went back to look at the ring again. Still not entirely sure that I liked it, I felt the need to buy it anyway.
Within the next few days, I was reading through the story of Joseph as I was preparing to teach for a children’s Bible study that week. One verse in particular stuck out as it talked about how Joseph was given a ring by Pharoah (Genesis 41:42). Often called a signet ring, rings like the one Pharaoh gave to Joseph allowed that person to have the same authority as the ruler or king to send forth official orders. The ring was literally used to stamp official documents as it was engraved with a certain crest or symbol representing the king.
As I read through the verse I Iooked at my ring that I had finally decided to wear. In that moment I heard God say that He wanted me to be able to fully experience His power in my life and that would include letting go of my own need for control. I needed to completely put my hope and trust in Him. He wants all of us to be able to stamp our hope in Jesus on the situations we go through.
If you truly want to be grateful for what you have now, you have to have a future hope; a confident expectation that whatever good thing God has promised, He is faithful to provide in His timing. Timothy and Kathy Keller write in their devotional book, The Songs of Jesus, that we should admit to ourselves that an infinite God may have reasons for suffering that our minds cannot fathom. We can choose to humble ourselves and take comfort in these attributes of God. Nothing is out of His control because He is all powerful and everything will eventually work together for good because of His righteousness, just like it did for Joseph. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph tells his brothers who sold Him into slavery that thier intended harm was something that God had intended to use for good.
So why should we be grateful? Because our God is a good Father. He is a Father who loves and cares for us and guides us along the best pathway for our lives (Psalm 32:8). He loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins so we may believe (John 3:16). We can be confident that God is faithful, powerful, and righteous and He will work things together for good (Romans 8:28). His good may not look like what we think it should but it will always be what is best for us.
1. When is it most difficult for you to be grateful?
2. What ways can you remind yourself of God’s goodness during those times?
Dear Lord, thank You for being a good and gracious Father. Allow us the strength to grow in trust of You and what You would have us do. When we start to feel ungrateful and impatient, remind us of your faithfulness and righteousness. Continue to soften our hearts as we grow closer to You and remind us that You alone are in control. Let us praise You always, Lord. Thank You for who You are. Thank You! Amen.
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