Originally published on March 26, 2014.
Here in this season of Lent, instead of fasting and acts of self-denial, we are counting our thanks out on paper, feasting on grace. We are looking ahead to Easter and the resurrection, and rejoicing in the Giver of life.
And I find this to be true, that when eyes are wide open to see “Every good and perfect gift…from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17), there is joy welling up that has little to do with visible circumstances. The Musician-King’s song echoes here: “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) Maybe not that we get some unspecified list of treats, as if we were spending the weekend with grandparents, but that the more we live in His presence, the more we experience the depths of His grace and goodness. No wonder the saints of long ago wrote down that the primary purpose of man was to glorify God and enjoy Him forever…getting to know an Eternal Almighty Being is liable to take forever, and the Psalm-Writer says it is all joy.
And you can tell, when you spend time with people, the ones who get this mystery of thankfulness, because the daily choice to recognize grace– when you name it in every little manifestation and offer your praise back up to the Giver– has a way of changing you on the inside. The daily discipline of humble thanks-giving stocks my Thought Closet with more of Him and less of me. Thankfulness chases away resentment and discontent, calms the spirit, focuses my thoughts on the things that are true and honorable and lovely, just like the Apostle Paul advised. He made that same connection between rejoicing and thanksgiving– said it should shape our lives and our prayers, promised good results: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
So as we prepare for Easter and look forward to new life springing out of the ground into green, we go on counting, day by day, tuning our hearts to see the gifts around us, to sing God’s praises–and it’s like we are setting the cross of Christ in the middle of all our days. Because these many little blessings are only glimmers of that one great rugged signpost to grace, where God’s Passion made everything new.
Speak to me…Fade Away, Passion
You’re the only voice I want to hear.
Walk with me…
Show me who You are as I draw near.
If You’re not in it
Then I don’t want it;
Let all else fade away.
Take the whole world
But give me Jesus;
Let all else fade away.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)