gratitude, in spite of…

Michelle and I were talking today about ‘gratitude’. How you have to fight for it. We were talking about how gratitude does not come naturally. What comes naturally for me (& for most people) – is frustration, disappointment, resentment, complaining, whining, etc.

What comes naturally also, is waiting to be grateful when _________________ (fill in the blank). When this… happens, then I will be happy, content, or grateful .

It was Karl Barth, one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century…

2006-07-02 barth.jpg

who said that “joy (or gratitude) in this world is always in spite of something”. He put it like this, “It is a ‘defiant nevertheless’ against all bitterness and resentment and despair”. And that “defiant nevertheless” is anchored in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Good reminder for me today. That joy is always, ‘in spite’ of something else. In spite of your (or mine for that matter!) bank account, in spite of the state of a relationship, in spite of a loss that you are going through, in spite of misunderstandings, in spite of simple ‘normal’ day-to-day stuff that can literally rob you of your perspecitve — that joy is a ‘defiant nevertheless’ over and against those things. Almost a violent struggle in your mind to be able to say that gratitude and joy are still possible.
This is a topic of conversation that we have at times with our children (8th grader & 6th grader). That to have joy, is really not dependent on our circumstances at all. It is so hard as a parent to literally & even half-ways consistently model that in day to day life, and to live that out. Pray for us as parents to do that.

Blessings to my fellow sojourner, that you can have a defiant nevertheless attitude today – because ‘this is the day the LORD has made. we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ psalm 118:24


2 responses to “gratitude, in spite of…

  • Dan

    Thanks Greg! I really appreciated you including this from Barth. At times when I am really discouraged I sense that I usually have to become “defiant” and fight for a sense of joy. I can really relate to this!!

  • Greg

    Dan – glad you liked it. You are right — you do have to fight for it at times.

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