The Path of Gratitude
Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.
Psalm 3:8 KJV
Thankfulness, it has been said, originates in the heart that recognizes all it has been given, but I disagree. It is really the loss of things that often casts us into the spirit of appreciation for what we have. True gratitude is only reached when something has been taken away. It is what we have lost in life, the people that are no longer with us, and the heartache and disappointment of failure, that are the churning place of thankfulness. For example, we do not appreciate our health until it is taken away. A near death experience alters, at least for a little while, the appreciation for life itself. Strip a man or a woman of what is most precious to them, and they will discover something of greater worth. It is only then that the true value of life appears. It is not until the underpinnings of life have been rendered feeble that our hearts look above the temporal things to the eternal God.
Consider King David’s battle with his son Absalom. The young man rebelled against his own father and went as far as to attempt to steal the kingdom from him. Imagine the heartache of a father whose own offspring hated him enough to banish him from his throne. The public shame of being driven from Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. The breakdown of his personal life and family were on display for all to see. On his journey out of town he cried out, “There are many saying of my soul, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ But you O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter up of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. I laid down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustain me.” (Psalm 3:2-5)
The blessing of God's presence and strength was experienced in David’s life in the very moment his heart was broken. None of us would have chosen that experience but it is within these times that we become grateful to God for the simplicity of His presence. When the crashing waves of adversity drive us into the sand, we find a strength that we never knew we had, and that strength is the Lord Himself. We clutch of thousand useless toys until they are taken from us. A million distractions evaporate into thin air when the Lord breaks our life down to the only thing that is important, Jesus Christ. The path to thankfulness is a strange journey. What has he taken away from you this year? Consider for a moment what He has put in its place, and you will begin to see that His ways are perfect.