God's word in today's world

Gratitude breaks through dark clouds

Giepie, a policeman from Oshakati in Oshana, Namibia, wrote to me:

One morning my arm hurt. I went to the State hospital where a young Army doctor was on duty and complained to him about my arm.

Then he invited me to walk with him. He took me to the casualty ward where patients were waiting for treatment. Most of them had been in landmine explosions. They had no arms, no legs; parts of their faces were missing …

After I saw them, my arm no longer hurt.

That happened in 1985, but I remember this as if it was yesterday.

I was talking to a friend about how blessed we are and he commented: Yes, we complain with a bakery under each arm. We receive so much. We live in the shadow of God’s grace. Every day. We must be happy. We must overflow with gratitude every moment of the day. Because that is the command.

18thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

The gratitude part is easy, but the second bit not so much: no matter what happens. How can I be grateful if I lose my job? How can I be grateful if my loved one dies just like that? How can I be grateful for cancer or another disease coming my way? How can I be grateful when life is so hard that it makes me cry? How can I be grateful if …?

I realise we struggle with gratitude, because we look for it in the wrong places. Our gratitude shouldn’t be determined by what we have. Our gratitude shouldn’t be determined by earthly things, but by what we have in the bank of heaven. Jesus died for us on the cross. His death opened the gates of heaven for us. Despite all our sin, we receive complete forgiveness when we repent and acknowledge our sin.

This drives us to total gratitude. If we realise how effective Jesus’ rescue plan was and realise how little we deserve it, we cannot help but overflow with gratitude. Then the storms of life can come. Then one after the other hardship can hit us, our gratitude will stand strong. Whatever the circumstances in this life, they do not affect my gain in life hereafter.

Indeed, it is this gratitude that helps us get through every crisis of every day. It is this gratitude that prevents us from being swallowed up by bad circumstances. It is this gratitude that keeps on giving us the courage to keep on fighting and holding on until the end.

May God’s Spirit give us wisdom. May He help us to keep going through the crisis in our lives, just because we are grateful. And then let us sing:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.


1 Thessalonians 5:16-22


What steals your joy?

How much time do you spend with God?

Where do you find your gratitude?


Father, it is not so easy for me when the dark clouds start gathering around me. I struggle to be grateful in such circumstances. I know I need a lot of wisdom and help. Help me, please! Amen.

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