Swamped with Gratitude

It is true that at every moment of our lives we are experiencing God’s blessings. It may not seem like it. Life itself is a miraculous one, how He keeps us alive and sustains us with food and water, air and shelter. The deepest part of Him craves to bless us. His desire is to give to us a joy beyond what we can imagine, that of eternal life with Him.

But so easily I forget what He’s done for me in the past, what He’s done for me now, and what He’s promised to do for me eternally. It’s like I’m with Israel in the desert, delivered through the Red Sea, but having forgotten that I’m delivered, am now complaining and grumbling about too much manna and not enough water and too little shade—complaining that I’m not in the Promised Land; or worse, that I’m not back in Egypt, slaving away. It’s been a day, and I’ve already forgotten what my life used to be like, when I was bound.

It’s like I’m still stuck in a swamp. In danger of foundering. Lost in the mangroves. Nose above water. Eyes scrolling. The overgrowth is thick with fog, so deep that they’d never find me even if they searched, or if I just gave up, finally, and sunk.

At those times, I struggle with feeling dissatisfied. Or being too picky. Or destroying myself. I get grumpy and impatient, trying to tread water through the muck. I find myself most critical of myself and others. I practice snobby love—love on my terms, on my wants—not out of gratitude. And when I’m there, I reason that nothing could be better than to be discontent and critical, not only of my plight, but even of the air I breathe. I think, “Wouldn’t it be better if I just drown?”

But God won’t let me go. He made a promise to Himself that He would rescue me, by His grace, through the cross, given to me not by my own volition, but through His, at the cost of His Son’s life.

I may feel I’m mired in a swamp, but Jesus is right there with me, mired as well. He is willing to do whatever it takes to stick by my side, even when I’m grumbling or dissatisfied, or if I’m ready to give up on Him or myself or others. Even though I go through moods of being critical, and even though those moods somehow create the very swamp that enslaves me, God is still there, scooping me out, lifting me up, helping me along.

Somehow, supernaturally, I can’t quit. This is because God never quits on me. He never will. He’ll never stop pursuing me. He’ll suffer wrath to give me one more breath, no matter if I’m gracious about it, or if my heart is one of gratitude.

No worries: A God like that cannot be ignored. By His witness, I am shown a way to go, to get out of the swamp, enjoying His promises on solid ground, totally free, to have gratitude like Him. It amazes me that Jesus was thankful for being crucified. He may not have wanted it, but when His Father gave it to Him, He took it openly with a thankful heart.

Sometimes it’s painful to follow God my Father. Sometimes it hurts to act when I know the Holy Spirit is telling me to move. Following Jesus takes all of me. There is no part of me that God is not stripping away or exposing, as He brings my pus to light. But these are the best times, because He’s lightening my burdens. He’s giving me buoyancy, a solid rock on which to stand, so that I will never founder, no matter how much I want to turn back. Even though it seems like I’m going to drown, God is holding me up, not to drag me endlessly through a swamp, but to lift me from it, into His blessed arms.

Yep… Still breathing. This is an overwhelming miracle! Jesus, Thank You!

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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