by Tom Goodman
November 26, 2008
Thanksgiving Day provides a chance for us to remember all the ways God has blessed us. But some of us would have to admit that gratitude doesn't spring up spontaneously from our heart. Disappointment has darkened our heart this year.
If 2008 has been a year of heartache and frustration, I have a three-step process for developing a grateful heart in the midst of disappointment:
First, begin by thanking God for the obvious blessings that immediately come to mind. We take for granted so many things, assuming them as rights instead of as gifts from the King. As a country preacher once said, we're a lot like hogs in
an apple orchard: enjoying the good things around us but never looking up to see where they came from. To thank God for his gifts is to grasp the first rung on the ladder out of bitterness.
Second, ask God to show you how he has been at work this past year, and thank him for it. Too often heartache blinds us to all the ways God has been at work, but gratitude can restore our sight. Henry Ward Beecher said:
If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my clumsy fingers and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and it would draw to itself the most
invisible particles. The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find some heavenly blessings.
Finally, claim Romans 8:28 even over your disappointments: "We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him" (NCV). While Step Two helps you see God's work despite life's frustrations, Step Three helps you
see God at work within those very things! Here we find the highest proof of faith: to believe that even things that break our heart (and God's) can be used of God to advance his purposes in our lives.
That's the Winning Way! God bless your Thanksgiving Day!
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