[notice]A fortnightly column by Anna Heydenrych.[/notice]
We will be celebrating Easter Sunday in a few days time. It’s the day put aside in the Christian calendar when we remember the resurrection or christ. Let’s be grateful — grateful that 2000 odd years ago, Jesus took on the sins of the world and died on the cross so that we could have eternal life.
Let’s be grateful. In general, let’s be grateful everyday, all the time. When I see a beautiful sunset I find it easy to be grateful. When everything is going my way, gratitude is an emotion I can tap into with ease. I count my blessings when blessings come my way.
When I feel grateful, I am nice. I smile at strangers, I respond with grace to my husband, and my colleagues would surely attest to how pleasant I am to work with. When I feel grateful.
The problem is, that sometimes I am stuck somewhere that I don’t want to be, while I know I am missing out on a beautiful sunset. Sometimes not everything goes my way and my blessings are slightly obscured. Then, I feel I have a right to wallow in my misery.
I was listening to a sermon by a well-known preacher and missionary the other day, and she had some truly awful stories to relate about bad things happening to her ministry and the people around her. She shared about how she continues to praise God and remains grateful during these trying times. Sounds like saintly behaviour. But perhaps remaining grateful during difficulties is not merely a way to display saintliness, but in fact a way to overcome, a way to allow God to work through a situation to demonstrate his glory in a greater way than we could imagine. If the testimonies of this preacher are anything to go by, then yes, I am encouraged to believe so.
I thought about my own life and my attitude to dilemmas, from the small ones like bad hair days, to the big ones like financial difficulties. What if I just remained grateful and took the opportunity to praise God even if I was worried about my future financial security (or my split ends)? I suppose I would be demonstrating my faith if I could ignore what I experienced in the natural and held onto an attitude of praise regardless of my situation. I would also be better equipped to handle any situation at hand, as I would avoid winding myself into a tight ball of stress and would rather be well positioned to manage what is before me with clarity and composure. I also believe that my attitude of praise would have spiritual implications. I would rather praise God for his goodness, resting my assurance in him than give darkness a foothold by wallowing in despair.
So, let’s be grateful all the time. And not so that we can be known as happy clappy Christians, but so that we can be known as kind, pleasant, graceful children of God who overcome adversity with attitudes of praise that confuse yet appeal to the world. Just like Jesus did.