Doesn’t this exclude lament?I understand the misgivings; they make sense to me. Nevertheless, I confess, “In everything, give thanks.” Let us not mishear this. Paul does not say give thanks for everything, but that in all circumstances, wherever we find ourselves in the ups and downs of life, there is space for gratitude.
I recall a moment several years ago …… when I loathed my life. I was filled with anxiety and despair. I preferred hating myself rather than loving myself. A mentor, to whom I submitted myself during those days, challenged me. “Make a gratitude list of at least twenty items.” When I balked at the idea, my mentor suggested the list did not have to be grandiose but simply authentic. I remember the first one on my list. “Number one: I am grateful I have indoor plumbing.” It was a simple but significant start. It reoriented me. I was empowered to see the good things in my life as moments of gratitude. I can’t prove it, but I believe there is always something for which to be grateful, even in a pandemic. Gratitude reminds us that we are neither self-sufficient nor alone; there is still good in God’s creation; and we have resources to help others.
Practice gratitude.It will change your life. Make a list today, at least twenty items, and do it again tomorrow, and then the next day. That daily habit will rewire your brain. “You are my God, and I will give you thanks” (Psalm 118:28).
Learn more from John Mark Hicks about how to trust God in the midst of grief, suffering, and loss by looking at his book Anchors for the Soul.