Grateful For Shadows?

“We give thanks to God not because of how we feel but because of Who He is.” [Ann Voskamp]

We sang “My God, I Thank Thee” at church on Sunday and as always, the third verse practically jumped off the page at me.

I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.

This is a very hard thing to be thankful for. So often when my joy is touched with pain, I think about how unfair it is. Or feel sorry for myself. Or wonder why does it have to be this way?. (And on & on)  But to be thankful? For shadows and thorns?

My flesh says a big loud “UGH!”

But that’s not all.

The verse ends: “So that earth’s bliss may be our guide and not our chain.”

Yes. I forget so easily. When there is all joy, I do forget. The hard things serve to remind me that it is NOT about me and that this world is not our home. I can’t get too comfortable and settled, or the perspective of eternity can become lost so fast.

I’ve come to the conclusion that when I am able to be grateful in the midst of hard times, pain, big messes, brokenness, and impossible situations, it is so much more meaningful than when I am thankful during the happy, (almost) perfect times. (Not to downplay gratefulness when all is going well) But it’s HARD to be grateful when everything seems to be wrong. A million times harder.

How to get there? I don’t always know. But I do know this, there is always, always something to praise and thank God for.

[Asher’s blog has been blessing me tremendously over the past few days — his mother’s funeral was the day before his wedding and in the midst of the pain & brokenness, he still is worshiping. Good stuff! Check it out]

Happy Thanksgiving!


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