One of my favorite passages is Psalm 107:1-2, which states, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (NKJV). In addition to being among my favorite verses, these verses are also intriguing. The Psalmist instructs his audience to give thanks to God. It seems like one of the last things the people of God would have to be instructed to do is give thanks. However, time and time again the people were given the command to give thanks to the Lord. This suggests that God’s people were not in the habit of giving thanks to the Lord.
Today, Christians have to be reminded “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” As good and merciful as God is, why would God’s word have to remind us to give thanks? An attitude of ingratitude seems to be pervasive in our culture. Here are three things to keep in mind as we seek to have grateful hearts.
I am a fan of the NBC show Heroes Reborn, which is a continuation of the original series Heroes, which ended in 2010. One of the original characters who makes an appearance in Heroes Reborn is Hiro Nakamura. He has the ability of time travel, able to go back in the past or into the future. In a recent episode, he was asked to take someone back into the past so that the two of them could work to stop the catastrophic events that happened on that day. Once in the past Hiro discovers that if they changed the past to prevent this event from happening, the result would be worse than the impact of allowing the event to occur.
There are times in our lives when we wish we could undo the past. There are things that we would change if we could. However, if we could go back and change the past, we could be worse off than we are now. Sometimes, things happen in our lives that are so unpleasant that we cannot imagine any possible scenario where removing that event from our lives would make us worse off. But as time rolls on, we see how God used the pain of the past as preparation for a glorious future. Think of Joseph’s life. As he is sitting in a prison, he may have wished to travel back to the day he went to his brothers and they sold him into slavery. Or maybe he would have gone back to the day Potiphar’s wife lied on him and called in sick that day or quit his job that morning. But if Joseph avoids prison, he doesn’t end up second in command of Egypt. If he changes his past, he wouldn’t have been able to provide food for his family, including his brother, Judah. If there is no Judah, there is no Lion of Judah, Jesus. If there is no Jesus, there is no hope for the world.
When you find yourself wishing that you could change your past, remember the words of Joseph to his brothers who tried to destroy him, “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.