I am often compelled to pray prayers of gratitude in the morning as I reflect on all the blessings in my life. One of the main triggers for me is a warm shower. It is at once soothing and invigorating, yet I am reminded of all those who don’t have warm water or any water at all. We often take such simple luxuries for granted. Last week as I was thanking God for His kind provision, I was moved to add the words “in this season” to my prayer. Instead of saying, “Thank you for the warm water you have provided for me”, my prayer became, “Thank you for the warm water you have provided for me in this season.” The change was subtle, but both freeing and eye-opening. It added a lack of permanence to the blessing. I actually became more grateful as I understood that at this time in my life I have been blessed with warm, running water. Tomorrow may be different; tomorrow I may find myself in a situation where I do not have such a luxury. By praying, “in this season”, I believe that should I find myself without this particular blessing in the future, I can look back on this time with a sense of sincere gratitude rather than a sorrowful longing over what I have lost.
I think it’s easy for us, particularly we who live in the West, to assume we will always have at least what we have today. Ours is a society that has been marked by consistent improvement throughout our history. But today is no guarantee of tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1); life can change in an instant for any of us through a variety of events or circumstances. The key then is to learn to be content in all situations, just as the apostle Paul learned to be (Philippians 4:11-13). By being thankful for what we have been entrusted with “in this season”, we can hold loosely to it, realizing the temporary nature of all earthly blessings. When we move into a more difficult period of life, we can then find things for which we are thankful in that season as well as joyfully reminisce about the good things we have been allowed to experience in seasons past.
When we assume that all we have today we will have forever, it becomes easy to take those things for granted. This makes us somewhat arrogant, because we come to expect that which God has elected to give us as a blessing. It becomes easy to lose sight of why we are blessed and who has blessed us. At that moment we are not only ungrateful, but we are also becoming prideful. All of this is in stark contrast to the person God calls us to be. Instead, we should humble ourselves to the point of being overwhelmed by everything He has entrusted to us. As we recognize the various blessings we have in the current season of our lives, we can better see how to share those blessings with others who are in different seasons.
Holding loosely to luxuries is a wonderful experience. No longer are we afraid to lose that which we cannot keep. Instead we become joyful for being able to experience it for the moment; we become aware of and thankful for the privilege. A heart that holds tightly to Christ and Christ alone is a heart that He can use for His glory. As long as we remain unaware of His blessings, our heart remains hard and our hands remain closed. God desires tender hearts and open hands so that they might be shaped for His glory and used to further His Kingdom.
I encourage you to begin being thankful for things “in this season”. In the same way recognize that the struggles you are going through are also only “in this season”. Earthly struggles and triumphs are always temporary, and both are necessary to refine us into the people we have been created to be. Thank Him for the blessings He has provided in this season of your life, as well as for walking with you through the trials you are experiencing in this season. As you develop a temporal view of earthly matters, you will come to further appreciate the eternal perspective of Heavenly affairs. All that we experience in life is for the ultimate aim of carrying on the mission of Jesus Christ. We can all be used in this season if we will only surrender everything to Him. Hold loosely to the things of this earth and cling tightly to the one who is Truth and Life. Live in gratitude with a thankful heart and the realization of what you have been given. All we experience can and should be used for His glory. Take nothing for granted, but rather live each moment in humble awe of what He is doing through you. Be thankful for the blessings you have been given in this season.