Wow. Today in the car I was singing to myself and God (poor guy, has to listen to me make up songs as I go) and anyway, I just had this amazing moment of realization about some stuff.
A friend of mine recently wrote about being thankful and praising God for His grace in our lives and therefore being joyful in any season- because in every season there is always God's grace and He is always good, right?
So then I started thinking- God, what can I praise You and thank You for that will never ever change, no matter what my circumstances are? There are plenty of blessings in my life that I can be thankful for (remember all those gifts He gives that we hold loosely? Here's where I wrote about that)
But all of those things can change regardless of my best efforts to keep them-
Loving husband (he can go crazy, turn mean and hateful, or die), good health (despite my best healthy efforts I could get cancer or get hit by a car and lose it all), financial provision, (I don't even need to explain how this could go up in smoke) etc. etc. Seriously...anything in my life could be changed in an instant.
Except one thing: that He loves me and has given me life. I don't just mean physical life (we all know that WILL change one day!), I mean spiritual life.
"And you who were dead in sin, God made you alive in Christ..."
"The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; but I have come that you may have life!"
"And this is eternal life, that you know Christ"
So, what am I saying? In all of my life, in every season, God is still good, and His goodness fundamentally and overwhelmingly displays itself in what He has done for me on the Cross and in Christ. And for that, I will never run out of reason to praise.
All the extra stuff? It's extra stuff. It's nice, but I don't need it in order to be thankful. I don't need it in order to have joy. Because He's already given me far more than I deserve, and far more than what was "required" of Him. He doesn't owe me a thing- He never did! But in Christ, He gives me exceedingly more than all I ask or imagine.