Because I have a tendency to focus on things that aren’t going exactly as I had planned, I began my quest for a happy heart by looking for one thing each day that I could be thankful for. At first I thought, “this will be a nice thing to do so that I can remember to be grateful.” Little did I realize that it would truly begin to change my outlook. The task of finding one thing to be thankful for each day, whether big or small, really can change your perspective on life–no matter how I feel, no matter what the day is like, no matter what the weather’s doing, no matter what, there is something to be thankful for. Looking back over the last two-ish weeks, I’m hard pressed to find much to complain about. My heart is happy because no matter what, I can look back over the last two-ish weeks and remember that I was grateful for something each day.
Yesterday in church I feel that God confirmed my experiment through a song that I’ve sung countless times–Blessed Be The Name. The words basically say that no matter what the Lord’s name will be blessed. And it’s because of all the things He does in our lives and for us. ALL things–no matter how I feel, no matter what the day is like, no matter what the weather’s doing, no matter what–His name will be blessed in ALL things.
In the lyrics of the song, there are two very subtle, but appropriately placed pieces of punctuation. Quotation marks. Goes a little something like this:
Blessed be Your name,
when the sun’s shining down on me,
when the world’s “all as it should be”
blessed be Your name.
I love those quotation marks. They are so appropriate. We are so quick to praise God when things are “as they should be” according to our finite minds. But, God is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving, even when things don’t go our way. Even if He never did another thing for us, He is more than worthy of our praise, our adoration and our lives.
Another striking set of lyrics in the song can be hard to sing, if we sing them and really mean it.
You give and take away,
You give and take away,
But my heart will choose to say,
Lord, blessed be Your name.
God has given us everything that we have, but in a moment He can determine it’s best to take some of those things/places/experiences/people away…Our health. Our finances. Our friends. Our homes. Our safety. Our family. Our security. Our talents. Our abilities. He’s given us every last thing that we have and He’s removed from our lives the things/places/experiences/people that He needs to in order to draw us closer to Him and form us more into the likeness of His Son.
There’s a familiar verse in Romans…one that a lot of you know. We like to read this one verse, and stop right there. We don’t normally read to verse 29 and truly understand what I believe God meant us to understand. Here’s what I mean…
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
Insert my thoughts here: Great verse, huh? For example, you may think, “this circumstance in my life stinks right now, but God will make everything good. God will work it out for good.” And, yes, He will. He has to. He promises He will. But what is God’s definition of “good”? Working things out the way we deem best? Making everything seem “ok” from our earthly point of view? No…here’s God’s definition of “good”…
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29)
Back to me: God defines “good” according to Romans 8:29 as becoming “like his Son.” Not anything else. That’s it. It’s as simple as that.
This took a different path than I had planned, but maybe this was God’s plan for this blog post. Who knows? God is good. He always is. He never changes. He loves us more than we can begin to comprehend and He proved that through His Son. That alone is worthy of a grateful, thankful heart. Every day, no matter what.
[Disclaimer: I gotta say, I’m a little scared to hit ‘publish’ on this blog. I know there will be days ahead–who knows when…maybe days, weeks, months, years from now–that I question things I just wrote. Days when I may question God’s goodness or God’s plan. But I have to know that God is who He says He is and God will do what He says He will do.]