Gratitude isn’t an attitude I find easy to cultivate. Too often I think I am entitled to God’s goodness, and when troubles litter the road ahead of me my inclination is towards self-pity.
Sometimes God shows His goodness by igniting our hearts with a delight in Him so passionate that our joy almost seems effortless. Other times He shows His goodness by revealing our sin and calling us to fight for the refreshing spring of joy in a seemingly endless desert of depravity. I’m not a fan of being in the latter category, especially during the week of Thanksgiving.
Nevertheless, God’s goodness remains true and constant. I must not think of God as being good only when pleasant circumstances come my way. Primarily, God’s goodness is revealed to me through the cross, not the lack of adversity in my life. The Psalmists explain God’s goodness like this: “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (See Psalm 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 29 and 136:1-26.)
How do I know God is good to me? Because He has shown me mercy. And what is the appropriate response to God’s goodness and mercy? Thankfulness. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
The mercy of God and the goodness of God are inseparable. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:6). Therefore, regardless of how pleasant or painful the future looks, God is still good and His mercy will stay hot on my trail for all of eternity. How good of God to pursue me with so great a love!
If you’re struggling with ungratefulness, or if you just have a few extra minutes this holiday weekend, check out this Thanksgiving-themed sermon by John Piper. It is most excellent.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I see some pumpkin spice cake doughnuts calling my name…