Seventeenth century Bible scholar Matthew Henry is said to have penned these words upon the theft of his wallet:
“I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”
I love his mindset. Henry discovered the secret of finding thanks in all things. When he encountered the unexpected, like the robbing of his wallet, he instinctively turned toward gratefulness for the good rather than bitterness for misfortune.
Gratitude is always an option. No matter what the circumstance….
- Someone rejects me…………..Thank you Lord that I wasn’t the rejecter.
- Not many of my books sell at the conference……..Thank you I was able to write the book in the first place.
- A relationship is not where I want it to be……Thank you there is something.
- I lose my job……Thank you there is still food on the table. And love.
- My close friend dies….Thank you for the years we had.
- Sin abounds….Thank you that grace abounds even more.
I don’t mean to sound glib. Hurts and disappointments come with ruthless intensity. And with great frequency for some. But I think at times we linger in sorrow too long. Complaining has a way of capturing our creativity. Of subduing our spirit. It causes us to lose sight of the bigger picture. It can make us forget that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed” (Romans 8:18). And be assured, God does intend to bring glory from all we experience.
So start with the small stuff. In whatever disappointment you face, search for the good that can be found…and dwell on it. Give thanks for all those embedded blessings. As was the case with Matthew Henry, let gratitude instinctively take over.