And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him..”  Colossians 3:17

Is there anything you used to take for granted before the COVID-19 virus hit that you dearly miss now? Perhaps social gatherings? Going to the movies? Being able to make travel plans? I am missing hugs, having meals with friends, and gathering in one place for corporate worship. The list could go on. In fact, if I chose to, I could obsess and grumble about all the things that have been taken away from me during this time of social distancing.

But we have another option. Two months ago, I didn’t particularly think about how much I appreciated any of the things I now miss so dearly. So what if instead of longing for what we no longer have, we turned out attention to what we still do enjoy and freely receive in a given day? What if whenever we experience something good in our day, we offer brief prayers of thanks for God’s simple blessings?

This does not mean we should not pray prayers of lament or pour out our distress before the Lord. There are those who are going through tremendous hardships at present and trying to make sense of heart-rending losses. It would be profoundly dishonest and inauthentic for them to pray to God as if nothing is wrong. However, I’m reflecting here on the dispositions we cultivate day in and day out. I’m suggesting that we have a choice on what we focus on, what we choose to see, where we habitually turn our attention. There is always bad news out there and if we myopically focus on it, our perspective can become jaundiced and soured.

With the practice of seeing simple blessings, my stream-of-consciousness prayer through a day might go something like this: “Thank you, Lord, for the life-giving rain we’ve had. Thank you for some warm, sunny days this past week. Thank you for the measure of health I do enjoy. Thank you for the verdant colors of spring that I see on the hills all around me. Thank you for the technology that enables me to see and hear loved ones and to share in worship services together. Thank you for my morning cup of coffee. Thank you for the blankets that keep me warm at night. Thank you for the people in my life who love me. Thank you for the ability to go for walks. Thank you for the playful gopher I saw poking his head out of his burrow on my last hike. Thank you for the creative ways people are caring for one another right now. Thank you for the tasty meal my daughter and her boyfriend cooked for us.”

Gratitude is not the denial of the difficult realities of life, but the cultivation of a disposition to receive with appreciation God’s daily gifts. May you live with open eyes and a thankful heart.

Andy Wall
Author: Andy Wall