This week we tend to focus on thankfulness for all we have. But sometimes it helps also to think about what we’ve lost. Loss carries with it a perspective that makes us grateful like few other things can.
I’ve come to understand how loss in life is one of God’s greatest ways to cultivate a grateful heart.
Have you lost something important? Thankfulness comes from one simple word.
How God Uses Loss to Cultivate Gratitude
A heart of thankfulness comes from one simple word—perspective. Loss makes us grateful for blessings we would otherwise overlook.
Of course, the familiar and arduous Mayflower voyage was exceeded only by the bitter winter the Pilgrims endured after landing at Plymouth Rock.
- Their rations fell to five kernels of corn per day as they prayed and struggled to survive.
- That first winter claimed half their lives.
After their terrible losses, they reaped such a bountiful harvest in 1621 that they chose to offer a week-long celebration in thanks to the Lord. For them, the first Thanksgiving came after a time of heart-wrenching loss.
It seems ironic and even wrong at first. But it’s true: Loss carries with it perspective that brings gratitude and thankfulness.
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. —Hebrews 13:15
The Irony of How Thankfulness Comes
Even our postmodern culture, which has defanged God, tossed all political correctness aside after the tragedy of 9/11 and sang with great appreciation: “God Bless America.” Churches filled to overflowing the following Sunday.
Loss cultivates thankfulness for our blessings. And perspective can occur at any moment:
- The car accident you survived makes you grateful for your family who irritated you earlier that day.
- After an unexpected or unfair job loss, you feel immense thankfulness for the new position you have.
- The doctor’s report of cancer in remission causes you to view each new day as the blessing it is.
We can even find reason to thank God in spite of those things He takes from us we will never get back.
Matthew Henry, the Bible commentator, fell prey to robbers one day. That evening he made the following entry in his diary:
Let me be thankful—First, because I was never robbed before. Second, because although they took my wallet they did not take my life. Third, because although they took my all, it was not much. And finally, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.
The Blessing of Perspective
Perspective still generates thankfulness in hearts. It happened with the Pilgrims in 1621.
It’s probably happening with you as well, isn’t it?
Tell me what you think: What loss have you endured that’s given you thankfulness? To leave a comment, just click here.