There comes a time in the process of recovery when we find ourselves seeing life in an entirely different way. Along with the pain, we sense with increased clarity that life is fundamentally a good gift from God. This is the experience of gratitude. Gratitude is a kind of participation in and response to God's grace. Without it, recovery would be a cheerless, and probably impossible journey.
The experience of gratitude is a response of our inmost being to God's grace. When gratitude breaks through, we are able to stop our frantic efforts to earn our way through life. In these moments of calm we see that our inmost being belongs to God. We are God's creation. Sometimes that is all we need. Other times this thought that we are God's creation is so far beyond all we could ever have asked, hoped or dreamed for, that our heart fills with praise and joy.
It is difficult to explain how, or why, or when gratitude comes. Sometimes we try to force gratitude on ourselves. Sometimes other people try to force it on us. But it cannot be coerced. It will not come from pretending. It will not come from telling ourselves that some people are worse off than we are. But it does come. And, when it comes, it breaks through our pain and surprises us with joy.
We cannot insist on gratitude today. But we can remind ourselves that we are God's creation. And we can wait for a new awareness of God's grace to surprise us with joy.
Give me a capacity for gratitude today, Lord.
Break through the clouds of pain in my life.
Surprise me with joy.
Fill my soul, my inmost being, with gratitude for life
and with praise to you.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery