I once saw a movie about a man who at the twilight of his life became depressed because of how much he is yet to accomplish and just could not stop regretting not having taken a different turn. An angel appeared to him and in his dream took him on a tour of how his life would have ended if he had actually taken the desired different turn in life. Inspite of the great wealth he would have acquired in the process, going down that seemingly better route would have made him a monster and he would have died a sad and lonely rich man. I am sure you would not be surprised he woke up feeling very grateful and elated, thanking God for who he had become.
I believe that if God could constantly open our eyes to all the unseen battles He had fought on our behalf and all the unseen evil He had overcame for our sakes, we would remain perpetually grateful but our obedience to the 1Thessalonians 5:18’s ”give thanks in all things” instruction is often swayed by our insatiable fleshly desires and never ending life’s anxieties. 1Peter 5:7 and Matthew 11:28-30 are two of several promises assuring us of God’s ever present help and comfort but yet the human chase for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow gets fiercer by the day and gradually draws him away from his maker. Man is so consumed by the next big thing that he perpetually fails to acknowledge and appreciate God for the present. I tell you what ”a busy heart can never be grateful”.
I have met and heard of people who at the tail end of their lives became embittered and lived regret laden depressed lives and I have observed they could placed into two broad categories. The first are those who in the process of ‘getting there’ failed to enjoy the process. They eventually arrived only to realize they have lost so much more on the way and the sudden realization of this irreversible damage fills them with disdain for their accomplishments and steals their joy and peace of mind. They have been so much blinded by their pursuits that they have failed to relish the experience and enjoy the relationships along the way. They can only wish and long for the good old days. The second category are those I always referred to as ‘chronic worriers’. It does not matter how highly placed or blessed they are, they still get unnecessarily bogged down by ‘greener grass’ on the other side. They cannot help but factor the ‘what could have been?’ into every of their equation of life and whatever God has blessed them with often gets overshadowed by one common attribute of theirs which is their penchant for comparison. It does not matter what they have or have achieved, their focus is always on what they do not have or cannot achieve. They are chronic covetous people and covetousness is a sin of the ungrateful.
‘Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what The Lord has done’ are the lyrics of a popular song. The grateful heart is a blessed heart. It is content, takes the focus off man and place it on God. It is humble, God dependent and worry free. A grateful heart is an obedient one and its obedience is an open door for continuous blessings, so be mindful of even the little gifts of life and be grateful. Give thanks to God always and you will be richly blessed.