The nights are cold and the shadows long as the winter sun dips lower in the sky each passing day. I can feel the frosty air and grey skies clutching at my disposition, seeking to enfold me within their sullen mood.
The world is reeling through a tough season of increased stresses and weakened human bonds, and now as the weather howls across the landscape it is easy to imagine it singing sagas of pain and suffering.
Personally, I have found the last few months immensely tough, plagued by many issues on varying levels. My health has been sketchy, my sleep disrupted, my livelihood uncertain.
A thankful tune
And yet through it all a song of thanks has been coming to mind, the lyrics floating through my brain on repeat like the all too clichéd broken record.
It is a Don Moen song entitled “Give thanks,” with those words repeated liberally throughout.
The opening line is “Give thanks with a grateful heart,” and I have found those simple words a powerful antidote to the self-pity party that seeks to take over my thoughts.
There is no place for bitterness or selfishness in a grateful heart. The grateful heart is not a victim of circumstances but a recipient of grace. Show me a grateful person and I will show you a beautiful person!
If there is anything that the latest world crisis has taught me, it is that there is so little of this world that I control. As I’ve battled through sickness and sleep deprivation and all the noise from world events far outside my reach, I have seen that my days truly are in the hands of another.
And what precious hands they are. Though hardships and suffering can cloud my view, a beam of light still shines through the fog sharp and clear. It is the light of my saviour Jesus Christ who has redeemed me and made me whole, and promises to make all things new.
It is the light of the one who promised that He would never leave me nor forsake me, and that at the end of time I would rise with Him in the fullness of Life. I can say with the Apostle Paul:
Romans Chapter 8 verse 18 (NIV) – I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
And so I give thanks, even in the storms. I thank God for each day He gives me on this earth, whether easy or hard, good or bad, knowing that God is working His perfect purposes.
My comfort is not the aim, nor my peace and safety. God sits on the throne, knowing all things, and I bend to His will. What else can I do? I choose to say with the psalmist:
Psalm Chapter 118 verse 24 (NKJV) – This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
A trio of promises
So in the fire or through the snow, my heart rests in the great and precious promises revealed in scripture of who God is, what He has done, and what He is going to do.
God is good, in every sense of the word. Loving, merciful, completely just and righteous.
I deserve nothing but fury from this good and perfect God, but in His infinite mercy He has lavished His great love on me, allowing me to stand before Him not only as His servant, but as His child.
And this is all through Jesus Christ, the Son of God who entered this world and lived a perfect life before taking on the weight of the world’s sin upon His shoulders, nailing it to the cross in victory over death and corruption.
Jesus is coming again, but this time not as a lowly child born amidst the hay of a barn, but as a triumphant King returning to judge the world in righteousness.
And so each morning I rise thankful for a new day.
It’s a new day to worship. A new day to serve. A new day to grow, even though that often involves pain.
It’s a new day to deepen my understanding and knowledge of God, delighting in the glorious mysteries of the gospel.
But most of all, it’s a new day that God has made. And for that I give thanks.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania with his wife and two daughters. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from chasing tennis balls to curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Thomas Devenish’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html