By Ryne Brewer
What cultivates thankfulness in our lives? As I read today’s Scripture passages, I asked myself this question, and perhaps you, too, pondered the same thing.
When I first encountered Christ, Scripture took on a vividness I never anticipated. It felt akin to discovering the hidden entrance to Narnia, igniting my imagination as I immersed myself in its story. The shackles of sin that had separated me from the Creator dissolved, and the burdens that had weighed me down seemed to evaporate. I was unshackled, able to sprint unhindered. For the first time, genuine thankfulness welled up within me. In the early days and months of walking with Jesus, thankfulness flowed effortlessly. Each prayer penned in my journal and every song that graced my lips was infused with appreciation for Him. I do not exaggerate when I say that my existence was steeped in thanksgiving. The exquisite gift of salvation turned my world upside down.
I believed that my being thankful for Jesus’s work would remain unwavering. Prayers would continue to pour forth, melodies would persist without end, and my steps would retain their buoyancy. Until, that is, the relentless brokenness of our world pressed in. In those moments, the luminance of thankfulness dimmed. Thankfulness swiftly morphed into shadows of bitterness.
However, even though that initial luminance often fades, God is no stranger to redeeming people from a fractured world. He delights in giving a thankfulness that transcends earthly circumstances. As I read today’s passages, it became evident to me that these authors, divinely inspired, understood that the door to thankfulness does not hinge on seasons of abundance or scarcity, trials or ease. No, a life marked by thankfulness is nurtured by continually savoring the reality that we are in relationship with the God whose love endures forever (Ezra 3:11). If we can indeed be thankful in all seasons, my next natural question is, “How?”
I think this means He beckons us to pray (Colossians 4:2), to worship, and to lead lives characterized by thankfulness transcending worldly understanding in all seasons of life. We express thankfulness for each breath. We acknowledge the moments given, treasuring precious memories and having clarity about what truly matters, taking it all to God (Philippians 4:6–7). We thank God for not requiring us to have it all together; rather, He invites us to trust Him anew and afresh. He reminds us of the love lavished through His Son.
Jeremiah Burroughs once eloquently stated: “One drop of the sweetness of heaven is enough to take away all the bitterness and sourness of afflictions in this world.” So what fuels thankful prayers, thankful worship, and lives defined by thankfulness? It is that single drop of heaven, and that sweetness is named Jesus.