Trust: The Proof Is Gratitude
This is the eighth post in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on TRUST, which is the theme of the 2015 June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day. This letter goes to the members of the Prayer for Prodigals community, but it is true for all of us.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
I’ve been a little whiny lately. So much travel, so many projects. I’m tired. All I can do is the next thing. Hard to catch up, much less do the things that need to be done but aren’t immediately essential. Little inconveniences are annoying. Etc.
So when I read a chapter on gratitude in Brennan Manning’s book Ruthless Trust I was sharply reminded of a lifestyle I have mostly chosen in recent years—gratefulness—but seemed to have forgotten in my weariness. Perhaps your prodigal has worn you out as well.
As we have been looking at all the substantial reasons to know we can trust God, even in our difficult journeys with prodigals, we can benefit from some solid evidence that we are growing in that trust. Manning suggests this:
“The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is gratefulness. Gratitude arises from the lived perception, evaluation, and acceptance of all of life as grace—as an undeserved and unearned gift from the Father’s hand….”
He suggests that walking in gratitude as a way of life is inclusive, attentive, contagious and theocentric.
Gratitude Is Inclusive
It is easy to make a list of all the “blessings”—the good things—in our lives for which we are grateful. It would be a good practice to do that daily.But the kind of lived out gratitude that is proof of our trust in God will include saying . “Thank You, Lord” for everything—including those things we prefer were not happening in our lives. Even for the pain caused by loving a prodigal.
Gratitude Is Attentive
The busyness of life, the bombardment of messages from our culture, the challenges of the choices of one we love all distract us from awareness of God active in every detail of our lives.
A heart of gratefulness stays aware of God in the beautiful events and joys and in the difficult circumstances and experiences. We pay attention to what He is doing, what He is saying, how He is working.
Gratitude Is Contagious
You know those people you don’t want to run into: the complaining, whiny ones who pass on their negative, ungrateful attitudes to you.
But you also know the ones who, in the midst of difficulties and disappointments, still exude joy and gratitude. You love to be with them, and perhaps you even “catch” some of that grateful spirit.We tend to think that joyful circumstances will make us thankful. In reality, joy—in any circumstances—comes from a grateful heart.
Gratitude Is Theocentric
“The theocentric character of gratitude is anchored in trust that there is Someone to thank,” Manning writes.
For the past eight weeks we have considered that God is God, He is good, He loves us, He has given us all we need in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We have hopefully begun to see that God is totally trustworthy. He provides for us, meets our needs, stays with us, gives us strength and perseverance and wisdom—and hope.
As our trust in God expands, so will our gratitude. We will increasingly choose to “give thanks in all things.”
I love this thought from Ruthless Trust: “To be grateful for an unanswered prayer, to give thanks in a state of interior desolation, to trust in the love of God in the face of the marvels, cruel circumstances, obscenities and commonplaces of life is to whisper a doxology in darkness.”
Can you whisper a doxology in darkness?
Trusting in Him,
What about you? Is gratitude an ongoing evidence of trust for you?
c2015 Judy Douglass
If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.