Gratitude as the Key Element of Spiritual Life

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thess. 5:18)

What can console and lift up our souls, drive away sadness and even doubts? What can encourage us on our earthly road? Thanksgiving, i.e., voluntary, active, and wholehearted gratitude to God for all things.

There was a certain Christian man who surrendered himself to despondency and therefore didn’t fulfill God’s will according to Apostle Paul. A friend of his advised him to write down all blessings that the Lord was sending his way in a special notebook. Several months later, the notebook was full. Prior to that, the man had been forgetting all those blessings but now he had them on paper and kept them in his heart. In spite of that, he would still feel depressed from time to time. He recalls, “As soon as I would peek into my notebook and re-read the myriads of God’s blessings, the stormy clouds over my head would immediately go away. My heart was awash with a warm wave of joy and hope. I was so eager to thank and praise God as much as I could.” Yes, but not everything that God sends us appears to be his mercy. Some of his blessings seem to be too heavy to carry, as if they were unbearable burdens. That’s where we stop thanking and begin complaining.

Be assured, my fellow Christian, everything in your life is a blessing no matter which black veil it wraps itself into. May your faith lift up the veil and make God’s mercy appear in front of your eyes and go straight into your heart. Remember King Hezekiah, who, recalling his turbulent past, said, The Lord was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord. (Is. 38:20). All sorrows, afflictions, and tribulations are sent to us to invigorate our spirit, which learns to thank God even for things that used to make us cry because the same things have taught us to praise God in the end.

From the book “Day by day. A Diary of an Orthodox Priest” by unknown author

Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds

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