This past weekend Jordan and I ventured to the beautiful Sipsey Wilderness at Bankhead National Forest. After getting a little lost, we anxiously arrived in an official parking area and jumped on the first trail we could find. Our intended search was to find some of the pretty waterfalls we had seen in our google searches of the area. We enjoyed our hike through the lush greenery, winding along tiny dirt paths of downed logs and lost leaves, while listening to the birds and feeling the breeze. We found weird bugs, animal footprints, and were genuinely enjoying our time together and then we saw it. A huge rattlesnake about 5 feet long and 6 inches wide. He saw us about the same time and let us know by warning us with his eerie sounding rattle. We looked at each other and without words decided to make a break for it in the opposite direction. After running several yards, we turned around and realized the big scary snake wasn’t following us. We were safe. Relief came flooding in as my heart rate tried to calm back down. And then, as we headed back to our car, an overwhelming sense of gratitude filled my heart. Thank you Lord that we saw it before continuing on the path! Thank you Lord that your timing was perfect in that encounter! Thank you Lord for your provision and protection! Thank you Lord for being Sovereign over your Creation. The gratitude overflowed.
Berkeley University in California has done a lot of research on Gratitude. In one article they state that, “Gratitude can make people happier, improve their relationships, and potentially even counteract depression and suicidal thoughts….Some studies have associated gratitude with a whole slew of benefits—from fewer aches and pains to improved sleep to better cardiovascular health.” In Psalm 100:4-5, David encourages us to, “ Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
The truth is, no matter what circumstances we are in, we have a lot to be thankful for. When we focus our thoughts on the greatness of our God, the smaller our problems become. Our world is slammed with many uncertainties and avenues of fear right now. But what a privilege to have a personal relationship with our Good Creator who is the Sustainer of all things. In this unique season Let’s challenge ourselves to see our ordinary daily provisions as divine acts of love and respond in thankfulness. As we continue to practice this attitude of gratefulness, our perspectives and our lives will be changed. Love you and praying for you church family!
Berkley Article (“Is Gratitude Good for your Health?” Greater Good Magazine.) Found at: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/is_gratitude_good_for_your_health