What does it mean to have a grateful heart? What are we to do when faced with life’s inevitable difficulties? Paul urges us on behalf of Christ to “give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18). As difficult as that may sound, there is a good reason why God encourages us to embrace gratitude. Gratitude is grounded in the truth that our Lord “is good” and “his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1). He is present with us and strengthens us in the midst of trouble, and He lovingly uses our trials to grow our character into His likeness.
It may be easy to get through the little things, but having a grateful heart will help whether they are large or small. Whenever you have a grateful heart, you can give thanks even in the midst of calamity. When life hits us with hard times, choosing to be grateful focuses our attention on the goodness of God and gives us the strength to make it through our struggles. With the psalmist, we can sing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:29).
We have so much to be grateful for in this life each and every day. But sometimes, constant life demands, struggles, and worries give more room to defeat than to a heart of thanksgiving. Or we forget, in the midst of busyness and pressures to pause and give thanks, for all that God has done, and continues to do in our lives.
There are times when it is a sacrifice to offer praise and thanks. We may not feel like it. We’re struggling. We're weary. Or maybe, we feel like He let us down. We think God seems distant, like he's far away, or doesn't care about what's troubling us. Painful life blows and losses might have recently sent us spiraling.
But here’s what can make a lasting difference. We have a choice, every day, to give him thanks. And with a heart of thanksgiving, we realize that no matter what we face, God doesn’t just work to change our situations and help us through our problems. He does more. He changes our hearts. His power, through hearts of gratitude and focused minds on Him, releases the grip our struggles have over us. His peace strengthens us, and we are refueled by His joy.
God's Word is filled with many reminders of how powerful and vital a thankful heart can be in this world.
Cultivating a heart of gratitude means having an appreciation for life in the present moment. It’s counting our blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging the abundance already here. When we are genuinely thankful for what God has given to us, we have a grateful heart.
I Chronicles 16:34
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.