I rarely post something on my blog that I have posted on Girlfriends in God, but I think today should be an exception. During this week of Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I’ve been thinking of gratitude…God’s love language. So let’s ponder that for a moment.
Gratitude and thanksgiving are so important for your soul. It is not just what God wants from you; it is what God wants for you.
Gratitude has been called the “memory of the heart.” Praise and gratitude bring up pictures in our minds that say, “Remember.”
Isn’t that what Jesus did in the last 12 hours of His life as He broke the bread and passed the cup? “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper, he took the cup…” Remember. Give thanks.
David invites us to, “magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3 NASB). When we praise and thank God, we magnify Him—make Him easier to see. A thankful heart opens the windows of heaven that allow us to peek at glory moments all around. Glimpses. Foretastes of our heavenly home that revive our hope and make us hungry for more of Him.
Why does God want us to give thanks and punctuate all of life with gratitude? He knows that gratitude gives birth to joy. Again, it is not what God wants from you, but what God wants for you. Joy.
Thanksgiving in “all things” squeezes difficult circumstances until joy oozes out of us. Fruit, if it had a say in the matter, would not like the squeezing, but it is the only way to get the sweet juice past the tough dimpled skin to the outside. Otherwise it would stay locked away until the fruit shriveled up and died.
Perhaps your relationship with God has come to the plateau of routine, passionless religion—as if your faith is stuck on the sandbar of mediocrity when it is truly meant to sail the seas of the joyful life. So what will lift your boat? What will get the joyless you “unstuck?” I suggest the language of a grateful heart will swell the tide to lift your soul from the sandbar and loosen you from the hold of the sucking muck below. Give it a try. As Jonah showed us, the way out of the belly of the whale is praise.
When I feel distant from God, gratitude and praise is often the ramp to get me back on the right road. When I have strayed from acknowledging His presence, when I have forgotten in him we live and move and have our being, when I have made me big and God small, gratitude leads me back to right relationship with Him. And then I wonder why I ever would be so careless as to drift away in the first place.
Do you long to feel close to God but feel like there’s something missing? That you’ve missed that mysterious formula to make it happen? Do you have a glory ache—a persistent longing to experience God’s presence and working in your life, but you’re not quite sure how to make it happen? If so, my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, is just for you. Join me in discovering how to erase the lines between the secular and the sacred and experience a deeper, more intimate relationship with God than ever before. While you’re there, you can download a free chapter or watch a video book trailer.