This is our privilege – through us blows his sound.
Gratitude is a quality we often assume we’ll have when we finally get what we want. Yet, time and again, rather than grateful, we find ourselves frustrated and disillusioned after the gaining of our goods. Like any other virtue, gratitude requires the intentional investment of time, energy, and resource. The grateful heart has learned to slow down and resist the restless urge of more in order to cultivate the necessary space needed to appreciate what has already been given. Yes, the change we need begins with gratitude.
Unfortunately, the flute also fell prey to such disillusionment. In taking the Potter’s breath for granted, it failed to grasp the privilege of the song and honor of being its instrument. We too, like the flute, are also channels of Another’s breath. As Christians, though the very breath of God’s Spirit dwells within us, somehow we are prone to take even this for granted when we fail to nurture gratitude in our hearts.
How do we cultivate gratitude? We must remind ourselves of an important biblical paradox—God loves us more than we could imagine yet we’ve done nothing to earn it (Romans 5:8). When we forget either truth—God’s unconditional love or our inability to attain it—we fall prey to dangerous theological extremes. We either emphasize our sinful nature while forgetting about God’s unconditional love or we focus only on how much he loves us while ignoring its unmerited nature. Each extreme not only stifles gratitude but threatens our faith in times of difficulty. How?
When we emphasize God’s unconditional love apart from our unworthiness to receive it, we encourage such an unbiblical optimism that when prayers are unanswered or suffering prolongs, we easily fall prey to disillusionment. When we stress our unworthiness apart from God’s unconditional love, we fail to lay the kind of foundation needed to produce hope when the dark storms of suffering strike. Gratitude, however, is the great equalizer. When we are awed by God’s unconditional love, gratitude reminds us of its unmerited nature before allowing spoiled presumption to infect our faith. When we are overwhelmed with our sinfulness, gratitude reminds us of God’s amazing love before hopelessness drains our faith.
Gratitude really does change everything. It strengthens our souls in both the good times and the bad. Whatever may come, gratitude fills our hearts with hope because we remember we belong to God and he loves us with an everlasting love. Yes, this is our privilege, through us blows his sound! May we ever guard this greatest truth and always cherish this sweetest joy. Next week we talk about how God can use his song in us to bring hope to others.
What Do You Think?
Do you struggle to maintain gratitude in your relationship with God? If so, why do you think this happens? What practical measures can you take nurture this virtue?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.