“Do you want to say the prayer?” his daddy asks, as if it weren’t obvious, and he gets a big nod and off we go. It’s never about the meal. To him it’s about talking to God and saying thank you for something, for anything, for whatever happens to be on his mind.
“Hey God!” Read that the way an excited child would greet his grandparents, not the way a New Yorker would yell, “Hey Mac!”
“Thank you for sisters,” although he has none, but one of his little friends does, so he wants to mention it.
“Thank you for blue, and red, and yellow,” the colors of the containers he puts his blocks in. He doesn’t complain about having to pick up his toys. He thanks God for something to put them in, and that’s the one that really made me think.
I wonder how many of our complaints could be expressed as thanks with just a little thought. Dealing with rush hour traffic? Thank God you have a car to drive through it in. Complaining about the stack of ironing? Thank God you have that many clothes to wear. Griping a little about picking up your husband’s shoes? Thank God he is alive and well enough to leave them in the middle of the floor.
I thought about this again yesterday when I was blowing off the carport. We didn’t have one for years, and sometimes I think that all it did for me was give me something else to keep clean. But last week when one of our usual summer gully washers came through, I could unload the groceries and stay dry.
Then I came in and heaved a sigh at the extra dirty floor. That happened because we saved enough money to buy a new vanity for the bathroom and the plumber tracked in sand going in and out.
Stop and think today about the things you complain about. How many are caused by blessings you could have thanked God for instead? How many extra chores do you have because God has provided you a home and a family? I never had to wash diapers until I had babies. Do you think for one minute I would have given them back?
If ever anyone had something to grumble about, it was Daniel when the other two presidents and the 120 satraps tricked the king into making the law against praying to anyone other than him. How did he react instead? And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem) and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Daniel 6:10. Surely if Daniel could say thank you at a time like that, we can in this relatively easy time in history.
God is patient with us as we daily grumble our way through a life He has blessed in thousands of ways. You have to go to work? These days especially, be grateful for a job. Gas prices too high? You’re still buying it, aren’t you?
Maybe we should be a little more like a three year old. “Hey God! (I’m so excited to talk to you!) Thank you for all you have done for me, for the things you have given me that I don’t deserve and forget to be grateful for. For all those extra chores, because they mean you have blessed me beyond measure. For all my pet peeves, because it means I am able to be up and around and go to those places where they happen. For the fact that I have to work so hard to lose weight, because it means I have plenty to eat. For people who get on my nerves, because it means I have friends and family and neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ—I am not alone.”
Today look at everything you gripe about and find the blessing. You will be amazed--and probably a little ashamed. And maybe those gripes will go away, for at least a little awhile.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thes 5:18.