This week we’re all mindful of the attitude of gratitude. We know something of how important it is to be thankful, and we know something of our natural propensity to be anything but.
When the returned exiles of Israel began rebuilding the temple, many of the older people wept. They still remembered the glory days of Solomon’s temple, and the newer temple project seemed like it was going to prove itself to be utterly disappointing by comparison (Ezra 3:10-13). They wanted to hang on to Jerusalem’s former glory, but they realized that those days were not to be relived. Zechariah’s response to the people’s widespread disappointment (4:10) is powerful: “Whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice!”
That gets me thinking about my own nearsightedness when it comes to matters of faith. I can talk up a storm about trusting God, you see, but it’s an entirely different thing when I actually have to trust Him. Perhaps you can relate.
So this holiday season I’m making it my aim to focus on “the little things.” By God’s grace and for His glory, I’m going to notice God’s goodness in the more hidden corners of my world, and in the places of my life that look less like a big splash and more like a subtle whisper.
I’m thankful for old friends. You know who you are. You’ve always been there for me. I know I can count on you, no matter what. Simply remembering what we’ve been through together, over many years now, warms my heart. (I’m not crying. You’re crying.)
I’m thankful for my quirky and beautiful little family of three. Some days we’re a trip, but every day we’re a treasure. We can complete each other’s sentences, and sing each other’s songs. We’ve got each other’s back. We’re on each other’s team. We’re not giving up on each other, but we’re choosing to cheer each other on until we cross the finish line.
I’m thankful for the work that I’m privileged to do. It’s hard work, and it drives me nearly crazy at times, but it’s a high privilege to be called to it. I’m even thankful for the multifaceted frustrations of pastoral ministry, for I know that in my Lord’s good providence they shape and sanctify me. No tear is wasted. No sleepless night is ultimately unprofitable.
I’m thankful for closed doors. (Yes, you read that right.) I’m thankful to know a God who knows better than I. I’m choosing to believe what I’ve always said I believe: His ways are not my ways. I’m choosing to savor the sweetness of a Savior who loves me too much to always give me what I want.
And those blessings are just for starters. By the way, if you’re reading this, I’m inviting you to join me on my simple journey of gratitude.
I have a hunch that one day we just may look up and realize that the little things were really the big things.