I’ve come to realise, in recent months, that I’m quite the expert on the subject of eternal gratitude. The realisation came to me while driving. I had pulled over to allow another car to pass and they passed without a wave, a little flash of the headlights, a wiggle of the indicators, or even so much as a precursory glance in my direction.
Naturally I was furious; surely an appropriate response would have been for them to acknowledge my kindness, maybe look up my address online and send a gift hamper, or have their first born cycle eternally in front of my car spreading rose petals, but no! They couldn’t even manage a wave.
I didn’t say, you see, that I was an expert at being grateful. As it would turn out my expertise is more in the line of expecting eternal gratitude from others.
When it comes to being grateful, honestly, I sometimes fall short. Just a few weeks ago I was blessed in the kind of way that can only be chalked up to divine intervention—blessed in an Ephesians 3:20, more than you can hope of imagine, kind of way.
And I was glad. I credited the almighty; I thanked Him and then, about forty eight hours later, in a moment of stress, found myself questioning whether He cared about my circumstances. No sooner had I uttered the words than I realised how ungrateful I can be.
It seems that it’s part of human nature to forget the good things as soon as something that we don’t like happens, or something that we would like doesn’t happen. It’s easy to devalue the positive because we’ve got a focus on the negative.
Forget not all His benefits
One of the things I particularly love about King David is that he regularly keeps his soul in check. He takes time to look at his heart and give it a health check and, where there are things like ingratitude, he makes corrections. He overrules his feelings to do what is right.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
– Psalm 103:2-5 (ESV)
Be thankful and give praise, he tells his soul, don’t forget all of that stuff that He has done for you—and then he starts listing some of those very things.
How often do we forget gratitude because something has made us feel down, because something has made us feel like all is not well with the world? At the very moments when our soul most needs to hear of the goodness of God we can instead fill it with complaints and groans.
We need to be people who constantly have praise on our lips. Let’s not forget that no matter how good or bad the moment we are in, we are blessed beyond the curse, we are favoured and loved unimaginably.
We need to be people who constantly have praise on our lips
So if you’re having a day, a week, or a season, where you seem only too aware of lack and it’s affecting how you think, it’s time to do as David did and give praise.
In literally listing his blessings David isn’t just accepting the head knowledge that God is good, but he’s reminding his soul that it’s a real and tangible goodness. He is remembering the experiences of this goodness and making a decision to position his life in thankfulness.
In literally listing his blessings David isn’t just accepting the head knowledge that God is good, but he’s reminding his soul that it’s a real and tangible goodness.
There’s a lot I need to learn from King David, maybe there’s a thing or two we all could. Why not take some time out today to count your blessings?