Sunday, September 14, 2014

thoughts on a German hymn

On Fridays in German class, we sing hymns.

Usually they were written by great hymnists who incorporated rich theological truth into beautiful texts.

But this Friday, Herr Schaeffer had us sing something with less textual richness. He laughed as he was handing it out, and as we translated it. It is a very simple and not very well-written song from 1961 - a seemingly random list of things the author was thankful for. We laughed along with him.

And then Herr Schaeffer explained why we were singing this song.

He said that the best time in his faith was the season when he focused on thanksgiving. Somehow that strengthened his walk with the Lord as nothing else had. And this song had reminded him of the value of gratitude. So this simple little song actually comes from a profound place: a place of understanding the importance of thanksgiving to God.

That was such a blessing to me.

It reminded me that gratitude is the foundation of a relationship with God grounded in trust. Because cultivating a habit of gratitude is really cultivating an attitude of reliance on God. Saying "thank you" means acknowledging that God freely chose to give me something that He did not have to give and that I could not have gotten on my own. And after thanking God for enough things, I realize that He deserves thanks for everything - including the hard things - because there is absolutely nothing that I have that is not a gift from Him.

This is a truth that every Christian would affirm, but it only becomes real and relevant when I consciously thank Him for everything in all circumstances. It is a truth that takes a lifetime to seep into a soul, and the habit of giving thanks for all things takes hard work and many baby steps to acquire. But it is the truth that makes it possible to rejoice always and pray continually. It is the truth that enabled Betsy ten Boom to thank God for the fleas in the barracks in a German concentration camp - before she found out that the fleas were the reason the guards would not come into the barracks to harass the inmates.

When I thank God, I confess the reality of His goodness and omnipotence. And when I make a practice of thanking God in the midst of daily life, I prepare myself to trust Him when things seem to go desperately wrong. Because the same God who daily provides for my every need will not desert me in times of trouble.

This is why gratitude is essential to a thriving relationship with God: gratitude is the practical outworking of trust in His love.     

This reminder one Friday in German class came at a timely moment. Diving back into the hectic world of college life, it is so easy to let gratitude slip onto the back burner in the effort to remember everything that needs to be accomplished. But gratitude is the only practical way to remember what God has promised: He does and will provide for me, because He loves meAnd He is always with me. This is what makes life worth living.

I know from experience that my joy disappears when I focus on how crazy my schedule is. My peace also disappears in short order. My relationship with Jesus is hurt because I am so focused on all the things I have to do that I forget I cannot possibly do anything without Him. But my relationship with Jesus, my joy, and my peace all thrive when I remember that I walk through every day in the presence of a faithful, loving God who showers gifts upon me simply to remind me of His love. The practice of gratitude is really the practice of stopping to remind myself of the presence of the Giver. And the presence of Jesus is what my whole being longs for more than anything else in the world.

Danke für diesen guten Morgen: Thank you for this good Morning   

Thank You for this good morning,
Thank You for every new  day,
Thank You that I can throw
All my worries onto You.
Thank You for all good friends,
Thank You, O Lord, for everyone.
Thank You also when I can also
Forgive my greatest enemy.
Thank You for my workplace,
Thank You for every little joy.
Thank You for all that is good and light,
And for the music.
Thank You for some sadness,
Thank You for every good word.
Thank You, that Your hand
Leads me everywhere.
Thank You, that I can understand your Word,
Thank You, that You give Your Spirit.
Thank You, that near and far,
You love Your people.
Thank You, that Your salvation knows no bounds,
Thank You - I am holding fast to that.
Thank You, O Lord, I want to thank You,
In order that I can be thankful.

No comments:

Post a Comment