As real & painful as a spirit of grief can be, it is possible to shift our view to include waves of gratitude to infiltrate the darkness & thus to let light & healing into our being.
There are 12 months in every year. Each of the 12 months are marked on our calendars as having some sort of event that identifies them. For the month of November, which we are currently journeying through, the event is Thanksgiving which is a day set aside to gather & give thanks for the bounty that God has blessed us with throughout the year.
However, just because the calendar says that a particular day is set aside to express gratitude does not mean that everyone is going to feel grateful on that particular day. The reality is, we experience a wide variety of situations through all our seasons that shape our view, at times creating a spirit of gratitude & at other times creating a spirit of grief. Therefore, it is possible on a day set aside to express gratitude, that we may find ourselves grieving & lamenting rather than rejoicing & giving thanks, feeling sad instead of joyful, anxious instead of at peace, hopeless instead of hopeful, etc. Feeling grief or sadness is part of life, however, the good news is that we do not need to stay stuck in the darkened spirit of grief, lamenting to God in despair. As real & painful as a spirit of grief can be, it is possible to shift our view to include waves of gratitude to infiltrate the darkness & thus to let light & healing into our being. Though a spirit of gratitude may not change the actual scenery, it does help to wash away the glass we look at life through & this help us to shift our view.
Prayer is the pathway that leads us through our seasons of grief into our seasons of gratitude. In our seasons of grief & suffering, through prayers of lament, we can petition God to deliver us from our suffering. Lamenting is the spiritually mature response to sadness, grief & sorrow. Our spiritual aliveness & health is not found in our ability to suppress our sadness. Our spiritual aliveness is found in our ability to bring it to God. When we pray a lamenting prayer, we surrender ourselves & our grieving spirit to God, trusting that He alone can help us through His grace & His steadfast love for us.
In seasons of gratitude, we lift up prayers of praise & thanksgiving to God for blessings received, for He is worthy to be praised. To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love & every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. A thankful heart is one of the primary identifying characteristics of a believer. Gratitude helps to fortify our trust in the Lord & reliance of His provision, even in the most difficult times in our lives. No matter how difficult life may be, our hearts are buoyed up by constant praise & gratefulness to the Lord.
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy
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