"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Eph. 5:20
Do you believe God's in control? Or do you believe that events are simply "coincidence"? Does God care about only issues of death and life, sin and obedience? Or does He also nudge our hearts to conform to His through something as mundane as housework, as well as bring us moments of happiness through something as simple as the twinkle in a child's eye?
I think the way we answer those questions depends upon how surrendered we are to His shaping, His conforming -- whether or not we are filled with His Spirit, or, instead, preoccupied with our own desires and ideas.
The Apostle Paul explained that giving thanks in ALL things was one of four signs of a spirit-filled life. Not just giving thanks for good things. Not just giving thanks for "spiritual things." But giving thanks for all things. I don't know about you, but for me, that is a hard pill to swallow.
All things.It's hard to find a way around "all." And that is why the Holy Spirit must show us the way to give thanks for the all. He is the only One who can open our eyes to how God may be using that "something" to conform us, to draw us closer to Him, to work "all things" together for good to us who love Him.
Am I jabbering on about this because I have gratitude down pat? Um, no. God has been prodding me, poking me, shaping me -- changing my thinking. But when I choose to be thankful (which means allowing the Holy Spirit to reign over my thinking), I am forced to ask God to reveal how He is working in situations that are unpleasant or even downright bad. Choosing to be thankful to Him causes me to see that GOD was ultimately the One behind the "small" blessing that brought encouragement and joy. I wish I were a faster learner. But I am so thankful that He continues to teach me more of His Way. And His Way is life abundant!
**Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a book that God has used to challenge my thinking. It's one that I need to read again to more fully digest!