Gratitude; September 28, 2020

Psalm 103:2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

This Psalm is a litany of the benefits of following God. I like the way the Japanese puts it here: “Don’t forget a single one of the good things He has done.” It’s entirely appropriate that many songs have been made by putting parts of this Psalm to music. That David would write a Psalm like this is ample evidence that he was indeed “a man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22) If we truly internalize what this Psalm says and, as this verse says, not forget any of it, then our lives will overflow with gratitude toward such a gracious God, and in the process gain the peace and joy that all of mankind desires, but so few find. It is sadly true that one of the signs we are in the Last Days is, as Paul said, that people are so ungrateful. (2 Timothy 3:2) The vast majority of the turmoil in the US right now would be eliminated if people had even a little grasp of how good they have it. I was quite struck by a video made for Prager University recently by a young immigrant from Cameroon, West Africa, in which she took down the whole narrative of how Blacks are “oppressed” in America, saying that as a demonstrably “African American” she loved America and its equal opportunities. And of course it’s not just a racial issue. Many of those rioting are actually well-to-do Whites, incensed that anything would fail to be as they desire. They are ample proof that academic degrees are no sign of actual intelligence, much less common sense. When we forget the good things God has done for us, everything falls apart. Appreciation and gratitude are indeed the keys to genuine happiness, and rejecting them is a guarantee of misery.

I have been incredibly blessed all my life, even though there have been many times when I have failed to recognize it. I’m part of a Facebook group of Missionary Kids, and the contrasts among them are striking. Some are deeply wounded, even embittered, by their cross-cultural upbringing, and some are deeply grateful. Experiences are certainly varied, especially in the area of parenting, but even among those who suffered from poor parenting there are those who wouldn’t trade their multicultural background for anything, delighting to be freed from the tunnel vision that afflicts so many people. I have had my moments of lashing out emotionally at perceived lack of acceptance, by Americans and Japanese, but that has driven me to find my grounding in Christ, and that is a blessing beyond price. As Paul said, our citizenship is in heaven! (Philippians 3:20) My income level has never been high, but God has met our needs so bountifully that some people think we are wealthy! As I encounter “bumps in the road,” such as my current hospitalization, I need to keep remembering that it’s part of the human condition, and keep rejoicing in Christ my Savior. (John 16:33)

Father, thank You for this reminder. I will be thrilled when I’m given the OK to go home, but in the mean time, I am to rest, relax, and rejoice in You. Thank You for the opportunity to witness to the man in the bed opposite me yesterday. I pray that what You said through me would continue to work in his heart and bring him to repentance and faith, for his salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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