How many of you woke up this morning full of gratitude and praise that, well, your hypothalamus was keeping your body temperature under control? Or that your kidneys had made enough erythropoietin, which tells your bone marrow to create red blood cells? How many of you just rejoiced in God that your optic nerve was still sending electrochemical impulses to your brain so that you can see? Or that your house didn’t burn to the ground last night? Or that you made it home from wherever you were going yesterday without getting killed a car accident?
Anyway, the list goes on about things that you should be thankful for. In fact, if you sat down and thought about all you have to be thankful for, you wouldn’t have time to do anything else, so great would be the number things that you have been blessed with in your life. Right?
Of course, most of us don’t wake up every morning thanking God that your kidneys are making enough erythropoietin, (though no doubt those whose kidneys might not always do it are very thankful when they wake up and their kidneys have.)
All of which leads to an important point: sure, life can be, and often is, hard, sometimes even tragically hard. And we don’t need to read The Drudge Report to see it, too. We can experience for ourselves the biblical words: “Man who is born of woman/ Is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1).
Yet no matter who we are, or what our troubles are, we do have so much to be thankful for. We just need to, like exercise, practice the principles of gratitude. In a book called Everything is Better Than You Think: How Gratitude Can Transform Your Life, Adventist pastor John will writes that “The good news is this: It is much easier to learn how to practice gratitude than it is to put contacts in your eyes.” His point is that even if you can’t change your circumstances, you can still find so much to be thankful for, and if you focus on those things (and it takes practice), your life can be transformed.
None of this is new. As Paul, who has plenty of woe in his life, could write: “Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).