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Let’s take the Christian God’s greatest act, creating the world and all who live on it (indirectly).
The start of all this, on God’s own words: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day”.
The danger comes when our warmth toward the Giver becomes dependent on the tangible good things he provides us rather than the good God he has proven to be.
It becomes formulaic and impersonal, like a monetary exchange or an unhealthy friendship.
We, too, are often irresolute with God because, if we're honest, it's easier to be thankful when things are great in our lives, not when they are hard.
Of course, it's always right to express thankfulness for specific situations, things, or persons God has given us. The old adage "count your blessings" seems corny and over-used, but it is helpful at its core: Naming those good relationships and things in our lives is part of actively pursuing gratitude.
As he wrote to the Colossians, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you . These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ" (Colossians -17).
And Jesus, when rebuked by the Pharisees for plucking grain from a field on the Sabbath, criticized those who made a fetish of Sabbath observance, insisting, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark ).
What if God takes something or someone away from us?
Because God is faithful, we can be receptive to him even during difficulty.
This doesn't mean we like the situation or that we have to find some sort of good in it while we're in that situation. Lewis, in one of his letters, says, "We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is 'good,' because it is good, if 'bad' because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country." In other words, we don't have to muster up a false pleasure in bad times, but true gratitude comes from seeing the hand of God working in our lives.
During the Sabbath day, I didn't think about my schoolwork, spend any money, ride in a car, or watch television. Although I went to church on Sunday mornings, the day never seemed quite as holy.
As often as not, I wound up at the shopping mall on Sunday afternoon.
Sometimes the only good thing we will meet is God himself, and he will sustain us.