Today is a good day to realize that though much sorrow may be present in life, there is still much for which to be thankful.
Once upon a time, there was a woman by the name of Naomi. She was married to a man named Elimelech and she had two sons, Mahlon and Killion. Unfortunately, her life took a turn for the worse. She found herself widowed and not long after, she lost both her sons as well. Naomi was devastated and told her daughter-in-law Ruth not to even call her by her name any longer. Instead, call her Mara. Mara means bitter. [Ruth 1:20]
Time would march on and before things were all said and done, it would be revealed to Naomi that she did in fact, have much for which to be thankful. She had a daughter-in-law by the name of Ruth who would remain loyal to her and assure that her needs were provided for the rest of her life.
Gratitude is an odd thing. For some reason, it seems to come more readily when we are surprised by joy. The brilliant color of the leaves this time of year in our area reminds me of the incredible healing power of nature and the changing of the seasons. There are trees on my street that are shockingly radiant. I was surprised by joy yesterday and uttered a silent prayer in thanksgiving for the gift of nature.
But, gratitude is an odd thing. It seems that it does not take long for a thing to be commonplace and soon, we ignore it altogether. In short, we can lose our capacity for surprise and delight. At this point, we can head down the slippery slope of focusing upon what we do not have and what we have not been given.
God seems to understand that we need periodic wakeup calls and they come to us in varied and sundry means. In Naomi’s case, the marriage of Boaz to Ruth produced a child by the name of Obed who would reconnect her to family and renew her life and sustain her [Ruth 4:15]. The lineage would then be in place for King David to be born.
Far too often, we are bitter. Far too often we feel we have had so much sorrow in life that there is nothing for which to be grateful. Too often, we put gratitude in the future, reasoning that at some other point in time we may be healed and then we can be grateful. But, why put off joy until later? Even in our acknowledgement of sorrow, we can not only lay our claim to gratitude but soon realize that gratitude is our path out of darkness.