“He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish. Psalm (107:35-38)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1)
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)
Many people live their lives with the perspective that the glass is half empty, not half full. Others simply take for granted the goodness of God, doing so by generally ignoring him as the source of beauty, goodness, and mercy in their lives; the idea of continual thanksgiving to the provider of abundant good never crosses their minds. Of course the world is beautiful; of course I ate three meals today; of course the sunset was spectacular; of course I am not starving; of course I finished the day in the safety of my bed. No, our focus is not on the good we enjoy; we are often distracted from thanksgiving for the good by what we perceive as the bad, which, as a consequence, gnaws at our peace.
The self-revelation of God is that he is good, abundantly so. God is good to all in the common grace he bestows on all mankind, for all live on the same earth, magnificently arrayed in beauty; all possess a body of immense capabilities; all enjoy sunshine, rain, food, and drink; all have the opportunity to worship the one true Creator of themselves and their universe. Yet many are dissatisfied; the good isn’t good enough or abundant enough. A spirit of contempt rules the heart instead of repentance and a thankful spirit, or a spirit of humility, patience, and kindness toward God and others (Romans 2:4). Contempt is manifested from various quarters and in varying ways, but no matter how, even in ignorance, it is contempt for God and contempt for the riches of his kindness when what he has provided does not produce genuine thanksgiving and humble contentment.
A manifestation, which can come even from his own children, those redeemed by his grace, is the contempt of being unthankful and unwilling to accept as sufficient what he has provided, and desiring more. Do you rejoice in what he has created for your constant joy, in the creation, in relationships, in calling, in assurance of his presence? Do you recognize that what is yours daily comes from his hand? Do you receive it as something you deserve by natural right, or as a gift from a loving Father? Do you understand and appreciate the truth that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17)? Of course, those who have never acknowledged him or his Son would never offer thanks to the one responsible for the air they breathe, the sustainer of their very lives. But those who confess him as their God and the Father of their Master and Lord should never be found without thankfulness on their lips and a spirit of contentment in their hearts for the riches of his kindness which leads them to repentance (Romans 2:4).
We exhibit thankfulness when we delight in his creation, are content with all he has provided, treat his family members with humble kindness, relish the fellowship of the saints, and worship him with the honor due to him alone. It is not just the words of thanks, but the character of the life described above. With such a perspective, even the poorest among us see the abundance of good they possess; for having the assurance that you are in God’s hands and recognizing his promised goodness toward you, you are rich beyond all comprehension. God is not only good, he is abundantly so. It is time to see and acknowledge it. This ought to be your worldview, even in the midst of dire straits. It is the way to live in the last days, for God truly is good, and his love endures forever.
“Good is the Lord and full of kind compassion, most slow to anger, plenteous in love; rich is his grace to all that humbly seek him, boundless and endless as the heavens above. Bless him forever, wondrous in might, bless him his servants that in his will delight.
(Psalm 103 from the Psalter, 1913)
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