“The power of gratitude is breathtaking and centering. It is along the lines of nuclear power. It makes our lives richer and fuller and freer. And it is a direct link to the goodness of God, which is an unending source of power and hope and faith.”
~Nancy Ortberg, Looking for God
Too often I think the attitude we have about the way the Lord blesses us goes something like, “Thanks for blessing me with…. but…” or “I’m really glad that You gave me this, or helped me through that, but what I really wanted was…” We pray for things that seem to be a big deal, but completely miss something even bigger when we’re upset that the Lord didn’t answer our specific prayers.
I recently finished reading “Looking for God” by Nancy Ortberg (It’s fantastic, definitely a recommended read!) and the title of her second chapter is “This, Too?” as I read I began to realize that those two simple words need to be precisely how we look at each blessing the Lord places in our lives. I won’t get into explaining the context of how the phrase was used in the chapter, it would take a long time, but it shook me. We should be overwhelmed and overjoyed each time God blesses us. Whether it be something huge and completely life changing, or something as simple as seeing a smiling face when we’re feeling down.
Here’s the thing, if we go through life constantly expecting more and more from God, there WILL be disappointment. There’s a reason you didn’t get that promotion at work, or you didn’t win the lottery, maybe someone else is dating the person you thought you were meant to marry. There’s a good reason, God has something better planned for you! I have to be honest here, I’ve occasionally found myself looking at the blessings of people around me and having thoughts like “Why did the Lord give that to her? She hasn’t even been a Christian as long as I have.” Or “I’ve prayed and obeyed God and waited for what seems like forever for that, why did they get it so easily?” I’m sure it’s not just me that finds myself scolding myself quickly after I let those thoughts dance through my brain.
Can I tell you something? Yours is coming. The Lord doesn’t play favorites, and even if He doesn’t give you exactly what you want or think you absolutely HAVE to have, He still loves you. Bunches and bunches! He has a plan and a purpose for each blessing He places in your life, trust Him and His perfect timing.
From now on, no matter the size or relative importance of each blessing the Lord places in my life, my response is going to be “This, too? Thank you Lord for blessing me more than I deserve!” (And remember, as hard as it may be to accept or admit, most of the time life’s rough patches are blessings in disguise and opportunities to grow spiritually and pull closer to the Lord.)
“So whether we’re looking out of an airplane window, or into the faces of people we encounter everyday, whether we’re on the job or in our kitchens, whether we’re reading a book or paying bills, if we just look, we will see things that cause our hearts to well with gratitude. God created the world, and it reflects His nature. Because of that, we can see Him everywhere. And everywhere we see goodness, we see God. The only thing we have to do is connect the dots.”
~Nancy Ortberg, Looking for God