I keep hearing people say how having the ordinary stripped away has made them realize what is truly important in life– cleared their vision, so to speak, and given them a new appreciation for the relationships that connect them. Having the world turned upside-down has also called many of us out of our comfort zones. No more daily commute, familiar office space, stores and gyms and running kids around– the routines that alternately bore or frustrate us, and provide the structure in our lives. It’s funny how the very things that can drive us crazy can be the security we cling to. Laying down our day planners, and trusting God to supply our needs, and spending evenings at home with our families may be a whole new adventure for many of us, and I wonder if it might not be just what we need right now.
Because there’s nothing like losing what you take for granted to make you appreciate it. It’s something our mothers knew very well, and used to their advantage when we were young. I guess somewhere in the growing up we forgot how easily things can be taken from us, and how useful are those lessons. So we live here in this strange season of change learning to be thankful all over again, remembering that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17) We have fresh eyes to see all the little things that matter, and maybe even have the time to enjoy them. And this week dozens of homes are focusing on the good things, writing them down on refrigerator lists and journals and scraps of paper– reminding ourselves that all is grace, and there is a Father who loves us. Regardless of our circumstances or our feelings, we can give thanks because of Who He Is and what He has done for us. This is the miracle of Grace, that gratitude can flourish under any conditions. It is our offering of worship… our declaration of belonging to Him… our defense against the darkness.
The Church-planter Paul assures us that this one awakening to gratitude can lead us into many good places. He writes joyfully, 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, along with Him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32) Opening our eyes to be amazed at God’s overflowing provision opens our hearts to trust Him. Practicing gratitude as a spiritual discipline leads us to depend on Him instead of ourselves. Saying thanks invites the Giver into the situation. And when we acknowledge His right to be there, in the middle of whatever is happening, it allows Him to work with His great power to accomplish His plans there, as well. This is how we welcome the Almighty into our Everyday, by seeing His ever-presence and saying thank you.
And who knows where these small steps of obedience will lead us?
I have wondered how often my refusal to obey, my hesitancy to go, or my action altered by my fear has kept the impossible impossible. How many opportunities have I missed to witness the miraculous because I didn’t listen or wouldn’t obey?Kristen Welch
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 2:6-7