By now, you all should know how my brain works: I think and write in song lyrics. I love music, and over the past week I have been humming and singing off-key (don’t judge me!) to one of my favorite gospel songs, “Grateful” by Hezekiah Walker.
grateful for the things
that You have done
grateful for the victories we’ve won
I could go on and on and on
about Your works
grateful, grateful, so grateful just
to praise you, Lord
Flowing from my heart—
are the issues of my heart—
Without a doubt, the issues of our hearts and the issues of this world abound. There’s no need to deny our reality. We are living in perilous times from the ongoing pandemic and geopolitical wars to record-breaking inflation. We have a lot to bemoan, but we also have a lot to be grateful for.
Gratitude is an invitation to enter the tension of “calling a thing a thing” by telling the whole, ugly truth, while at the same time thanking God that you still have breath in your body—still have provision, whether it be a small or great portion. If you are reading this blog post right now, that is evidence of God’s grace in your life: you’re still in the land of the living. We are still here despite the ways that COVID-19 has claimed the lives of close to one million people in the United States at the time of this writing. If that doesn’t cause you to shout, I don’t know what will.
Cultivating a spirit of gratitude toward God for the blessings in our lives enables us to tell the truth about our reality. Gratitude eschews denial because it’s the truth about our current reality that illuminates God’s grace in our lives. Gratitude is how I can say “we down bad” and God is good at the same time. We can do this because of the example that Jesus left for us.
This is the time of year when Christians celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Jesus was preparing to go to the cross, Matthew 26:36-46 records Jesus’ prayer to God the Father in the Garden of Gethsemene. Jesus told his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went away and prayed to God three times to take the cup of suffering away from Him. In the account in Luke 22:44, we read that Jesus was sweating blood. The issues of His heart were literally flowing from His pores. Then on the cross, while Jesus was in agony and the sins of the whole world were laid on Him, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).
Jesus, who is the Truth, shows us how to tell the truth about our situation.
One thing about Hezekiah Walker’s “Grateful” is that when the song is sung in church, you can’t help but sing along—even if you’re not feeling grateful in the moment. Sometimes it takes time for our internal disposition to catch up with the reality of God’s goodness toward us. One way we can bring them into alignment is by thanking God for one thing He has done for us. Before you know it, you’ll be able to notice more of the blessings God has bestowed on your life.
The bad isn’t hard to find because it’s all around us, so let’s look for the good. Gratitude along with faith in God is how we will get over.
How do you express gratitude to God, even during a challenging season in your life?Leave a Comment