We just past Thanksgiving, one of America’s favorite holidays. Loved because we gather to eat and eat and eat and then watch football. We have much to be thankful for this year, despite the virus. Many of us have rediscovered our family bonds. We’ve found new activities to enjoy with each other. Many of us, however, lost someone precious. Perhaps we regret not spending more time with that person, visiting or calling on the phone. Maybe we took for granted their presence in our lives. What are you truly thankful for every day? And what about God? Are you thankful for His loving presence in your life every day?
Being thankful is an attitude of the heart that we choose. Think about all the wonderful things around us for which we can thank Him. This thought struck me one morning as the pup and I stopped to look at the creek. There are some wonderful glacial rocks poised on the edge so you can sit and listen to the water flowing on its way to the ocean. What hit me was how we take for granted that the water in streams will continue to flow. That the rain and underground springs keep on supplying the creeks and their inhabitants with life. That the streams empty into the ocean, and that it holds the same amount of water and never dries up!
That made me think about what else we take for granted. Every breath for one. We think that we’ll keep on breathing, and we usually do. But if you’ve ever been short of breath, you quickly learn that its not to be taken for granted. Our atmosphere is perfectly balanced for us to breathe. Our lungs are magnificently created to take in oxygen and expel the carbon dioxide. Our bodies do this day in and day out, 365 days a year, for many years. We are not even aware most of the time that we are breathing. And all those plants around us in the forest, they’re taking in the carbon dioxide that we expel and giving us oxygen in return. How nice!
We take for granted that the sun will rise every morning whether we can see it or whether its hidden behind the clouds. And that the moon will pass through its phases. We believe that spring will come after winter and that summer will follow. We take for granted that there will be birds singing in the trees and butterflies and bees visiting our flowers. And yet our ecosystem is fragile.
And ultimately, we may take God for granted. It’s often after you’ve stared down death that you begin to thank Him every day for the sunrise. But in fact, we all face death every day. Every breath we take could be our last without His plan. To some extent we all take our lives for granted. People who have had near death experiences whether it was from cancer, a heart attack, a car accident or something else gain a different perspective on the moments of every day. They become more precious. They learn what the present is truly about. They experience a reverence for other people in their lives. In fact, their lives are permanently changed for the better. They learn what it is like to spend time with Him. And in so doing, they gain some of His perspective.
If you’ve ever met someone who really listens to you, you know what it means to fully live in the present. Most people in a conversation are thinking about what to say next, making mental note of the way you are dressed, trying to come up with something brilliant to refute you or direct the conversation back to themselves. But every once in a great while you meet someone who is solely focused on your words, trying to understand and respond, and totally wrapped up in the conversation. Their only focus is on you. Doesn’t that make you feel great? That’s what God does for you every day. He never takes you for granted, always listens, always responds, always has your best interest in mind and always loves you. He’s thankful for you. Who wouldn’t want to get to know this God?
“I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Philippians 1:3 NIV