How easily we forget. We forget all the time. It is like the bulletin board of our memory is made of some non-sticky material so things we should remember slide away. Some things are good to forget but it's funny how it is those things we tend to remember. It seems that the good of our past is often overshadowed by the bad. Perhaps this is the reason we are such ungrateful children when it comes to the goodness of our Heavenly Father.
It is true. Did you wake up with prayers and songs of thanksgiving this morning or were your first thoughts about your lack, your pain, the unpleasant tasks for today or any other hundred thoughts that robbed you of your joy? We suffer from short term memory, forgetting how great, mighty, powerful and generous our Father is. Last month we worried and fretted over some bill we didn't have money for, but our Father provided and everything was taken care of. Now we are back in the same position and, instead of remembering what God did last month, we return to worrying again. Silliness. We should be an expectant and joyful people before our God, remembering his goodness of the past and trusting for our today.
The psalmist who penned Psalm 136 has given us an excellent example of how to maintain our joy and trust in the Lord. He wrote:
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1-3)
When I was younger I found this psalm annoying because of the repetition but now that I am older I understand the repeating undercurrent of my life: His love endures forever. No matter how I have failed him; no matter my doubts; no matter my fears, his unfailing love has remained and carried me through. For this reason alone I must maintain a thankful heart. How could I possibly complain when God, the God of gods, the Lord of lords, loves me and looks after me? Apostle Paul discovered this same truth and asked us the question:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (Romans 8:35)
You wouldn't believe how many people have failed in their faith because of these simple matters. We think we are strong but often, due to forgetting the goodness of the past, due to ungrateful hearts, due to lack of worship, and lack of trust we allow fear to chase us away from our faith in Jesus. Apostle Paul answered his own question:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
Our Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit never fail us. It is we who let go of him and I believe it starts with an ungrateful heart. Or perhaps I should say that an ungrateful heart is the first sign of weakness of our faith. Paul said that nothing can separate us from the love of God because, as the psalmist wrote, his love endures forever. His love endures but ours does not. The only way we can cultivate our love for him and keep it fresh is to remember, to be thankful, to worship him in this thanksgiving. This cannot happen once a week but must take place every day as we open our eyes, giving thanks for all the things he has done in our life. As you remember the past your thanksgiving, trust and faith will increase. Then we are able to say with Paul:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
You can't say that and believe it with an ungrateful heart. It takes a heart that has experienced the goodness of God and from that goodness has made the decision to trust God. Then we are also able to declare:
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Go ahead, count your blessings today. Count the promises that have been given to you. Count the good things the Lord has done in your past. Try to count them and you will soon find yourself worshipping him with a heart that is brimming with thanksgiving. Do not allow fear, worry and anxiety about today rob you of the joy the Lord has given to you. He is the God of yesterday, today and forever. He doesn't change and his love endures forever. What he has done in the past he will do again so rejoice that you are his child and he loves you. Once you remember this, get out of bed and serve him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. There is work to be done!