“Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude” Colossians 4:2 (Message).
C. S. Lewis warns, ‘We have a tendency to reject the good that God offers us because, at that moment, we expected some other good.’ The year was 2000 and what should have been my daughter’s high school graduation was not to be. I had dreaded this day for a year knowing that as her childhood friends would be reaching for their diploma she would be reaching for her next drug of choice. Her friends would be packing for college at the end of the summer while she would be packing her body full of heroin. As I arose that morning I decided to sit on the deck during the hours that the graduation ceremony would be happening. I took a chair out there and put on some comforting music as I waited for the clock to strike. At 1:00, when I expected the skies to grow black, the music to turn sour and my heart to shatter, I noticed how beautiful the day was. The sun was high in the sky…the temperature was perfect and pleasant…birds singing back and forth ... glistening sun rays on the lake. Time was suspended and I had been given a gift. The gift was a perfect moment transcending my pain, a spiritual view of God’s handiwork over a depleted and fearful heart.
God gave me His best in those moments and the gratitude in my heart rose above my present suffering. Did His best in those moments change the circumstances in my life? No. Did my gratitude for those spiritual things in those moments change the fact that my heart would continue to break for the following 5 years? Certainly not! But this was the point both C.S. Lewis and Paul were making. By staying alert to God’s blessings in the moment it is tough to not feel the joy God delights in giving us.
The problem is that we are looking towards future things we are waiting for God to do in our lives instead of claiming the good things in the moment. ‘Loving a moment doesn’t remove the pain, but it does make room for joy. Living in the moment helps us recognize that God can be found in this moment, whether it contains joy or sorrow.’ Choose Joy, Kay Warren.