Living is a miracle! The simple fact of being here and a part of the human race that God created with so much love and dedication is a reason for daily gratitude. We often wait for big things to happen to then give thanks as if miracles consist of only things we can see, like being protected from a car accident or having one’s life spared in a disaster. While these things are incredible, divine miracles aren’t only unlikely or unexpected situations that happen plainly before our eyes. Miracles are happening all the time. We would be surprised if we could see everything that takes place beyond the limits of our sensory perception.
We often give public thanks when we have a birthday or at every milestone. However, gratitude can be present at any time and circumstance, it can—and should—accompany us daily. Just as we want God’s company throughout our days and throughout our lives, He desires our praise and expression of gratitude at all times. We don’t need everyone to know; the goal is for Him to know. But, God knows all things, doesn’t He? So do I need to talk to Him every day? Well, we’re alive, so does that mean we no longer need to breathe every day? Of course not! Praise and gratitude are the breath of the soul. They add life to our days and happiness to our hearts.
It may seem cliché to say that “every day is a gift” and that “every minute of life is a reason to be thankful”, but it’s true. We often say this because it sounds beautiful, but if we don’t have a true feeling of gratitude in our hearts, it’s only lip service. God doesn’t need us, but man was made to glorify His name and give Him honor. So if you feel that your gratitude has been superficial, I challenge you to ask God to transform your heart so that you can recognize His greatness and love revealed in the simple things, so that you begin to see the beauty in small things and don’t need to wait to receive great blessings and remarkable moments in life in order to express gratitude.
By doing this exercise, I realized how easy it has been to say “thank you” as mere lip service in those quick morning or evening prayers. How long has it been since the last time I stopped to count my blessings and offer sincere words and thoughts of gratitude to God? The month of September was full of important moments and dates for me. I decided to express my gratitude in writing during the thirty days of the month.
The challenge was to write, not only on days when I had obvious reasons to be grateful but especially on days when, by all appearances, I had no special reason to do so. The act of putting it on paper made all the difference. My daily blessings became visible to me and much more special. It filled my heart, fed my desire to live, cultivated positive thoughts in my mind, and I was able to remember all the reasons—besides my wedding anniversary, birthday, and other milestones—for which I can thank God.
The challenge I set for myself was to continue the habit to the end of the year; and of course, why not continue, preferably, forever? I invite you to start doing the same, and if this is something you already do, congratulations, and may God continue to bless you. There’s nothing God desires more than a thankful heart.
Ellen White advises:
“We need to praise God more…We are the constant recipients of God’s mercies, and yet how little gratitude we express, how little we praise Him for what He has done for us.Steps to Christ, p. 102.2
Today, when you give thanks for the day or the night that has passed, may your words not be automatic and empty, but may you internalize it, look into your heart and feel gratitude, think of the words you are saying when you pray, and think of the Creator who is listening to you; all this is real. Let the love of God envelope you in these moments of communion, and experience the joy of living life with gratitude.