Gratitude; May 15, 2023

Psalm 146:5-6 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea,
and everything in them–
the Lord, who remains faithful forever.

The English and Japanese divide the verses differently here, but the point is clear: God is worthy of our faith, our hope, our trust. When we rely on Him we are blessed indeed. In a sense, you could say that the way to receive blessing is to recognize that you are already blessed. I’m reminded of a scene in The Last Battle, the last book in the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. A group of dwarves have made it into heaven, but they are sitting around in a circle with their eyes closed, grumbling instead of exploring and rejoicing in their new eternal home. When we recognize and appreciate all that God has already done for us in Christ, the negatives of life recede greatly in importance and we can more easily recognize the blessings He continues to pour out on us each day. This Psalm goes on to chronicle various things God does for people, stressing the point that God is more than worthy of total faith and obedience. We are all too prone to say, even if not out loud, “But what has He done for me lately?” If we didn’t feel so entitled, we’d recognize an abundance of grace and mercy. Many studies have shown that gratitude is the key to happiness. It is when we start trying to dictate how God is to bless us, and get ticked when He doesn’t follow our scenario, that we become miserable in spite of the blessings we have been given. As Paul said, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) That is part of an extended section on the pitfalls of loving money, which is antithetical to the attitude commended by the Psalmist.

I had an excellent example here, being raised by parents who loved God above all else and rejoiced in the privilege of serving Him. As a missionary family we were certainly never rich, but our needs were met, we were blessed indeed, and we knew it. I could say the same about my own life as an adult. I can testify that recognizing God’s grace is the fastest, surest path to happiness, contentment, and yes, joy. The devil tries to steal any or all of that from me any way he can, so I’m to submit to God and resist the devil. (James 4:7) As my wife and I were talking about just last night, every day brings a new attack of some sort, but God is faithful, just as the Psalmist says here. I am not to allow myself to be tied in knots by computers and computer companies (easier said than done) or anything else, for that matter. Whether our email works doesn’t govern whether God loves and cares for me!

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your faithfulness to give me such reminders, because I seem to need them frequently! I do ask for wisdom and peace as I continue to track down the solution to the current email issue, with the awareness that this is totally inconsequential on the eternal scale. May I not be like those dwarves in The Last Battle, but rather rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to. 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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