Some years ago I read a book by Nancy Leigh De Moss called Choosing Gratitude. In one chapter she lists eight reasons for a grateful heart in spite of circumstances. One reason is that gratitude is a matter of obedience. It is commanded by God throughout His Word especially in the Psalms and New Testament Epistles. Gratitude also draws us closer to God. When we long for a greater sense of God's nearness or life's stresses pile up like they can, gratitude to the Lord is the gateway to His presence.Gratitude is further the only sure path to peace. Life difficulties can become overwhelming. Prayer is a good avenue of release, but it must be accompanied with gratitude (Philippians 4:6-7.) When gratitude combines with prayer and we open our eyes to God's blessings and mercies even in the midst of heartaches, peace follows. When we thank God even when we can't understand what He is doing in our lives, there is peace.
Gratitude is also a gauge to our heart. It is often easy to be thankful for the obvious blessings. It is less easy to be thankful for the more difficult and hard to understand blessings. If one is thankful in all things, it shows a heart which believes that God is always faithful and good and can be trusted. Giving thanks in all things is not acquired in a moment. It is the result of many choices to be thankful even in difficult moments.
Gratitude is the will of God. Choosing it is more important than choices we make about any other of life's decisions. All other life decisions pale in comparison to choosing gratitude. Gratitude is proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is evidence that we are yielding to His control. Gratitude further reflects Jesus' heart. Even the night before Jesus was put on the cross He showed gratitude to the Heavenly Father in His prayers at the Last Supper. He gratefully and willingly submitted to the Father's will in spite of the horrors of the cross just before Him.
Finally, gratitude prepares us for heaven. Think of all the saints in heaven praising God before His throne. My first husband, my sister, and other saints who have gone ahead of me to heaven are no longer suffering from disease or heartaches of any kind, but they are praising God before His throne right now! I too can join in that praise by thanking and praising the Lord now. Life is difficult at times. I often find gratitude a difficult choice to make. Yet in the measure that we walk with gratitude, peace will follow. Resolve with me to to strive to walk that path.