“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” ~ C.H.Spurgeon.
As we enter the season that reminds us of all we have to be thankful for, I’m once again humbled by the acknowledgement that too often I find myself nursing an ungrateful heart.
Looking over Spurgeon’s quote from long ago, I can’t help but notice that he doesn’t equate his thankfulness with what comes naturally. He claims to have learned this attribute.
If I’m honest, it’s one I’ll have to strive for also. This probably explains why God issues this all-important characteristic of the believer’s life as a command (Col. 2:6-7), and it is one He gives repeatedly throughout Scripture. Knowing the disadvantage we face as we war against the world, our flesh, and the deceiver of our souls, God declared that at the very center of His will was for His people to be those with an attitude of much gratitude (1 Thes. 5:18).
As we survey those who the Bible describes as men known to have thankful hearts, we can’t help but find names such as Job, Daniel, and Paul. Each, even in crisis, was found grateful to God. We learn from these men that we are to be thankful through times when we don’t get what we want, and also during the times when we get what we don’t want.
How does one learn to have a heart like this? How do we learn of what Spurgeon learned; that even the crushing waves of suffering and the trials of persecution cannot quench our gratefulness to our Heavenly Father?
At least two thoughts must come to mind here. First, we should recognize that the greatest and most needed provision has been made on our behalf. Through the work of the cross, Christ has redeemed us. We should be in a constant state of thankfulness for the saving grace Jesus purchased for us while we were unworthy sinners. Against this knowledge, Paul would declare that everything else is manageable. All that he had forsaken for the gospel of Jesus Christ was “dung.”
We should also have grateful hearts with the knowledge that comes from knowing that everything that happens to the believer is in the believer’s best interest (Romans 8). There is a comfort and peace that should come with this reality. While our Lord infinitely understands all that we face, He promises us that He is using both the good and the bad things to mold us and shape us into that thing He so greatly desires of us… to be transformed into the image of His Son!
Lord, may we be a people known and characterized by our unending thankfulness to You.
I will praise the name of God with song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30