I remember hearing a preacher once claim the miracle of a good parking spot. As in, she taught a church full of people how to pray for a good parking spot, how to claim it, and how to rejoice when it came. My side eye at this cannot be overestimated. If your greatest notion of suffering is having to walk a few more rows to the Target, then I think we can safely say you’ve lost the plot.
A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.
Yes, we might have ‘righteous anger’ as we see our culture destroyed, but if our anger spills over into our Christian witness, it only fuels the stereotype that the world already has of us. Yes, we are called to expose the sins of the world, but to do so with redemption, in humility and compassion.
Gratitude reinterprets the situations in our lives, beginning with the baseline acknowledgement that we don’t deserve any of what we’ve been given. It’s all a product of God’s grace. The eyesight that allowed you to read that last sentence, the mental abilities that allowed you to comprehend it, the manual dexterity that enabled me to type it—all are products of God’s grace. The breaths you took while reading the last paragraph—all of them were borrowed. When you start with this frame of reference, it’s hard to be discontent. But discontentment is empowered by a sense of entitlement. And there is an inverse relationship between gratitude and entitlement. When entitlement is high, gratitude is low. When gratitude is high, entitlement is low. Gratitude begins where our sense of entitlement ends.
It can be the death of our faith if we forget that [forgiveness] is literally a miracle.