- I have plenty of food, shelter and clothes.
- I have a job, friends and family.
- I can get a book at the library or watch the Olympics.
- I am loved by God, friends and family.
Wow, I have so much to be thankful for today!
Which brings me to an obvious question – why am I so often not experiencing a sense of gratitude? I can so easily go through the day without any deep sense of thankfulness whatsoever. I can often notice “all that is wrong” and go through the motions of the day with a ho-hum attitude instead of living joyfully with the many gifts I have been given. Oh sure, I am like most when I stop and think for a few moments I will try to convince myself “I have nothing to complain about” or “I have so much to be thankful for.” But why do I need to remind myself?
Not that long ago I went through a dark period. It was as if nothing could truly wipe out the oppressive weight that would press down on my soul each night when I was supposed to be enjoying some refreshing sleep. My mind would race and I would be consumed by deep thoughts, complex problems, sorrows and many other things that just ate away at my peace. My soul hurt and I couldn’t shake it. Without going into details; I am in a much better frame of mind today and I have so much to be thankful for.
There are a couple of things I believe I gained in this “dark night of the soul” period. The first was a sense of appreciation for others that are dealing with soul anxiety for whatever the reason. I am thankful that I can relate to a certain extent with people that have chronic issues that weigh them down and are very real. Closely tied to this new understanding was a sense of thankfulness that I am not waking up to this difficulty today. I have a sense of gratitude that I can see my context with a sense of hope and also see how good I have it on this particular front.
In desperation, I also leaned heavily on God to set me free and heal my brokenness. That is always a good spot to be but commonly we can either feel entitled or forget our need for God when our lives seem good or everything is going our way. The writer of the 45th Psalm asks a question that I asked often during the period I just shared with you. He wrote:
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
I believe a soul that is downcast or one filled with ingratitude needs to go to the same place for peace and a perspective that is good and true. Here the psalmist’s solution and it is still the answer today!
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Our souls cry out to know God, to know truth and live out our days in gratitude and hope.