“To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives-the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections-that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.
Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God” (Henri Nouwen).
I’d only add one thing. This kind of gratitude only happens when we learn to find God in everything. It happens when we seek and see God’s hand in the good and the bad, the easy and the hard, the pleasant and the painful.
I don’t believe that God causes the bad, the hard, and the painful, but I do believe that God is at work through those times and can turn even the worst of them into something way better than we could ever have dreamed of with our small finite minds.
Being grateful in everything even includes those awkward, in-between times when it’s not quite terrible but it’s not close to being awesome either. It’s hardest of all to give thanks in the hallway between God closing one door and God opening another, but that’s where you find so many little things to be thankful for that add up to a heart brimming over with gratitude.
“Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed)” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, The Voice)