I’ve heard it said that grace and thankfulness have to go together. Why is this?
A: When someone comes to grip with the depth of God’s grace, gratitude naturally follows. That’s why I get uncomfortable when I hear people say, “You should be grateful for the grace God has shown you….” That is something like saying, “You should feel happy when the Packers win” (insert your favorite team if, in fact, it is not the Packers). Let me explain what I mean.
As the clock ticked down to 0:00 at the end of last year’s Super Bowl, my whole family was jumping and leaping and screaming and hugging and yelling, “The Pack is back!” at the top of their lungs. No prompting, cajoling, or threatening was necessary. It was the most natural thing in the world to be happy!
In the same way, when you come to the place where you truly know that grace is true…that God couldn’t possibly love you more than He does right now…that He couldn’t possibly love you less than He does right now…that He loves you perfectly because it is His nature to do so…that it is not tied to your performance, but to His perfection…that out of that love He has forgiven you, blessed you, taken you into His family, and promised you a living hope for an extraordinary future in His presence…that in His grace He is forming you in Christlikeness, rebuilding broken relationships, and giving purpose, passion, and the gift of the Spirit for comfort, enabling, and gifting, all simply because He chooses to…your heart will be supernaturally full of gratitude!So, are you struggling with being thankful? The answer is not to try harder to be grateful. The answer is to dive deeper into God’s grace, because gratitude naturally follows grace!
Splinters, thorns, prickers. It doesn’t matter what they are called, they hurt and get under your skin! Life in our world is filled with thorns: difficult relationships, illness, loss of loved ones, broken promises.
The Bible tells us that even the Apostle Paul and God Himself in Jesus struggled under the bite of thorns. But God does not allow thorns in our lives without providing sufficient grace to live in the prickly mess. What Satan intends to push us down often results in pushing us to our knees in front of God’s throne instead.