I cannot sleep.

I am thankful for many things—just so you know—but this night I have chosen to lie here and rehearse a compendium of gripes. Every. Bad. Thing.

Somehow that seems to fit my mood and it goes as follows:

I don’t like getting rained on.
Or the way I parked the car.
Or ragweed because it makes me sneeze.
Or when people don’t get my very hilarious jokes.
Or how superficial the party was (which, I say, is why they didn’t get my jokes).
Or how bothered I became that I didn’t shine more.
Or …

Enough of this negativity! This is stupid, a bad exercise.

I know and I’ve read and I’ve heard: God’s love and Jesus Himself are the ultimate blessings in life, everything I truly need. Therefore I have every reason to be thankful in this life right now, not this grumbling fool who talks to the dark.

(Flash prayer: Lord help me; I am not a mature spiritual being).

A line from an old sermon pops into my head, “There are no guarantees of a believer’s continual happiness in this life, only the next”.  Then another thought…the Bible enjoins me to be “thankful in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for [me] in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:18). I’m sure that’s why I hear so forcefully now, in a loving sort of way, “Get over yourself and get on your knees and thank the God who made you, spoiled child!”

Not yet! I’d love to, I rationalize, but I still don’t feel what I’m hearing. My unfinished soul lags sorely behind the encouragement of God’s Spirit within me.

Yet apparently I am overmatched. For I am shocked to discover I am already on my knees, ready now to get out of my own way: My Father, I’m thankful for the gentle rain falling on my crooked-parked car, for flowers drinking, for smiles and gatherings of friends, for the roof above me, for Jesus—my Shepherd, my life—for grace, your love, your restful promises, your soothing voice, for this quietude and peacefulness, for sleep…sleep. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I climb back into bed and eke out a last thought: This has been a good exercise; I look forward to continuing nightly until these prayers of gratitude become a habit to be reckoned with.

I fall sound asleep.

I hope this encourages you to thank God tonight.

Kevin Murray
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