What if in the morning when I wake up
Even before I fill my coffee cup
I said Thank You
Accomplishing this task before the morning coffee would be a miracle but I have a big God. I have written often about Satan's strategy to rob us of our joy. He plots to have us live in regret of the past and fear of the future because that keeps us from living in the peace and joy of the moment. Paul addressed the syndrome in his letter to the church at Philippi.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4, NIV)
Perhaps the most insidious tactic of the enemy is to suggest that troubles demonstrate that God is not there or that He has abandoned us. I think one of the dangerous and maybe even deceitful things that many Christians communicate is that coming to faith in Jesus will make your life trouble free. Perhaps we should have a warning label with every presentation of the gospel.
Caution - "In this world you will have trouble". (Read the small print in Mark and John, this truth IS in the brochure)
Coming to faith does not remove the trouble from our lives. Jesus is not a money back guarantee for perfect health, unlimited prosperity, and non-stop giddiness no matter what smiling televangelists soothingly tell you. Trouble is a part of life. Henri Nouwen wrote these words in his book Turn My Mourning Into Dancing.
"Who is it Jesus said would be blessed? "Those who mourn" (Matt. 5:4). We learn to look fully into our losses, not evade them. By greeting life's pains with something other than denial we may find something unexpected. By inviting God into our difficulties we ground life-even its sad moments-in joy and hope.
Problems either refine us or degrade us. That is where Jesus comes in.
I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world. (John 16, The Message)
That is what I have discovered in my journey with Jesus. When life delivers the inevitable I can be assured, deeply at peace, and even unshakable. I would suggest that adversity introduces a person to their faith. Does it stand up to the hard times? Real faith does. Jesus came to give us real life and to help us get through the risks that living life brings.
Part of that strategy is always taking a step back and remembering all of the blessings that we have in our lives. To remember to say thank You.
The lyrics continue…
What if I lost everything that I have
I could smile and somehow still be glad
And say Thank You
Cause life is joy, life is pain
But the prayer of my heart will never change
I say Thank You
That is really excellent advice and pretty good theology. Even in adversity I have so many blessings to remember and say thank you.
Paul finished his passage to the Philippians that I quoted above with another great insight. After he had learned to be content in whatever circumstance he wrapped up the lesson with these words.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
And that truth allows me sing the chorus boldly.
Thank You for everything
Thank You for loving me
It don't even matter what tomorrow brings
I will sing my Thank You
I say Thank You
Remember to say thank you. Receive God's love today and ask Him to love others through you. Perhaps this year will be one of the best ever if we can lean on those simple actions and we can really believe that we can do everything through Christ who gives us strength. And remember to say thank you!