There is no better cure for discouragement than gratitude. We often become so consumed with our personal problems that we lose sight of all the blessings in our life. Taking the time to reflect on all that we have can be a remarkably healing and refreshing exercise. Remembering what God has done for us empowers us to face the next challenge. We who profess to be followers of Jesus have no excuse to feel hopeless and unworthy. The Creator of the entire universe and everything in it – including you – sacrificed His own life to prove how important you are to Him. He created you, and He died for you. If you can think of nothing else for which you are grateful, then just start with those two facts!
When was the last time you thanked God for the roof over your head, or the heat and air conditioning in the place where you live? How about the car parked outside or the gas in it that gets you to your job and back? Do you ever stop and thank God for indoor plumbing or having clean water on demand? How about your internet connection or the device on which you are reading this blog? Do you realize how many people in the world have no access to these common things we take for granted? Based on the fact that you have the capability to read this blog, I’m going to assume you have a place to stay, at least a little food in your cupboards, clothes on your back, and a few dollars in your pocket. Compared to so many, we are all so rich. We have no right to complain.
In our minds, we allow the insignificant problems of our daily lives to grow into seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We feel weighed down by the burdens of life when we scarcely understand the meaning of the word. If we never take a moment to pause and reflect on everything with which we have been blessed, we begin to take it all for granted. Remember Jesus promised that we would have trials in this life (John 16:33). He said if we followed Him, we may have no place to lay our head at night (Matthew 8:20). He warned us that our families would hate us (Mark 13:12-13). Most of us are experiencing little of the persecution that He warned us could result from following Him. That should find us rejoicing every day!
Barring terminal illness or intense persecution, our problems are small in the grand scheme of things. Still, we become obsessed and consumed with the minor irritations in our lives. It’s time to get over them and get on with the mission to which we have been called. I encourage you to set aside some significant time to reflect on all you have been given and to praise and thank the One who gave it all to you. We all need to repent of our preoccupation with the little problems in our lives and focus on helping those who are truly in need and suffering. Don’t let the devil keep your focus on yourself; reflect on the glory of God, who He is, and all that He has done. We cannot help but be grateful when we think on these things.