How can we bridge the gap between the beauty & suffering of life & abide in a spirit of gratitude & joyful praise?
In spite of the reality of suffering & uncertainty that is woven into our lives, the Psalmist tells us that as believers, we are called to awaken the slumbering joy that resides in our hearts & to be living doxologies to the world, “praise givers”, giving thanks & praise to God without ceasing. The question is; how can we bridge the gap between the beauty & suffering of life & abide in a spirit of gratitude & joyful praise? The reality of life is, that we owe deep, humble thanks & praise to God our creator for the gift of life He has blessed us with, for there is nothing more life giving, more spirit filling, more reason for giving thanks then the unending unconditional love of God promised & given to us by God. God is omnipresent & transcends yet includes all time, all space & all challenges. His love for us is steadfast, compassionate, just, forgiving, inclusive, & loving. He is a Holy oasis for us, & as such, He alone is our refuge & our strength.
When we recognize God & the goodness & beauty of all that He has created &all that He gives to us, it will turn our hearts from the suffering, indifference, hopelessness & despair of life, into praiseful, prayerful, hopeful, rejoicing which will naturally fill our hearts with the peace that surpasses all earthly understanding. It is up to us whether we recognize God, dare to believe in Him, trust Him & receive His gifts. Living our life informed by a deep sense of gratitude to God & for God is the answer to the question of how we can bridge the gap between the suffering & the beauty of this life. To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us, for He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a gift of grace. When we focus on gratitude to God for blessings received, the tide of fear, pain, & disappointment goes out & the tide of love rushes in, for it is impossible to feel gratitude & fear, anger or despair all at the same time. Gratitude does not change the scenery, but it does awaken the slumbering joy in our heart, as it washes clean the glass we look through, so that our view changes from that of helpless despair, to hope & joy grounded in God’s steadfast love for all of creation. Prayer & praise are the rubric for holding the experiences of life in relationship to God. We bridge the gap between a life of despair, indifference & pain & a life of joyful praise & thanksgiving through prayer, for it is through prayer that we commune with God. Praise & thanksgiving befit the righteous & we my friends are the righteous, claimed by God in Who’s image we are created. As believers, we owe it to God to be supernaturally joyful. We share our joy in the Lord through offering up our praise, our gifts, our graces & ourselves to God in service. Everything we do, every decision we make, every interaction we have, should radiate an “Alleluia” to God, for without God we would have nothing.
In this season of Thanksgiving, amidst all the challenges we face, may each of us in faith, lift the veil of despair & fear as we pause & remember with gratitude, the beauty & love God has graciously bestowed upon us. As we come into His presence with Thanksgiving, living in a spirit of gratitude, let everything in us adore Him & give Him thanks, for we do know that the Lord is good. His love for us will endure for all generations. AMEN.
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy
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