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Cultivate Gratitude for What God Has Given Us

Cultivate Gratitude for What God Has Given Us

If happiness for us comes only through maintaining a sufficient flow of favorable circumstances, life will be pretty hard for most of us.

We typically can’t control favorable circumstance adequately enough for them to bring us consistent happiness.

A prime example of this is found in Charles Kuralt’s book, A Life on the Road. Many years ago, Kuralt was host of Sunday Morning, a weekly television program, and host of On the Road specials on CBS in which he traveled around the United States in a motor home and filmed interesting stories about unusual people or happenings. Portions of his work often aired on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Every evening when Cronkite, one of the most respected men in America at the time, completed his newscast he signed off in his distinctive voice and style, “And that’s the way it is.” It was one of the most famous phrases in America for decades.

In his book, Kuralt wrote: 

A woman wrote me a letter from Ohio. She said her parakeet could say “And that’s the way it is” like Walter Cronkite. We went there right away, of course. As soon as she opened the door, the parakeet said, “And that’s the way it is.” While we set up the lights and camera there in the living room, the parakeet watched us from the inside of his cage and said, “And that’s the way it is!” We pointed the lens at the cage and started rolling. The parakeet looked at the camera and said:


The parakeet’s owner said, “And that’s the way it is!” to give him a cue.

The parakeet said, “Aaaaawk!”

“And that’s the way it is!” she said patiently.

He said, “Aaaaaaawk!”

We turned off the lights to let the parakeet calm down. We went into the kitchen and had a cup of coffee and talked about the weather and other things. Then we sauntered back into the living room, and pretended to pay no attention to the parakeet in his cage. The bird’s owner thought this might work. We said nothing. The parakeet said nothing. We turned on the camera again.

The parakeet said, “Aaaaawk!” 

After an hour or two of this, we packed up, promising to return some other time. We said good-bye to the disappointed woman who wanted to see her parakeet on Walter Cronkite’s news program. We closed the front door and started down the walk to the driveway, carrying our camera and lights. Behind us in the living room, we heard the parakeet say:

“And that’s the way it is!”

And that is the way it is.

  • You try to control circumstances, and you can’t.

Therefore, a key to happiness, a key to entering into the love-relationship God offers us is to cultivate gratitude for what God has given us, rather than ingratitude for what He hasn’t.  Gratitude is a fundamental virtue.  If we cultivate gratitude, many other virtues click into place.

Here is a short list of things God has given to His children that we often take for granted.  Don’t read over this list lightly.  It is easy to think, “Yeah, yeah… blah, blah, blah… that’s what you’re supposed to say.” 

Rather, internalize these truths.  They are powerful and transforming if we grasp what life would be like without them.  Try to imagine any one of them not being true, or being taken away, or which one you might willingly give up. 

I.God offers us His love. 


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. — 1 John 3:1

Quote: “We are born for love. It is the principle of existence and its only end.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

II.God offers us His forgiveness.


As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

Quote: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~ C. S. Lewis

III.We are born again, spiritually.


You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable. — 1 Peter 1:23

Quote: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – whether they stand at the heights of political power or the depths of prison confinement. I have been in both spots. And no matter where a person is, God will meet him or her there with an invitation to forgiveness and new life.” ~ Chuck Colson

IV.We will live forever in paradise.


He will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…Revelation 21:4

Quote: “Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~ C. S. Lewis

V.We receive disproportionate eternal reward for things suffered in this life.

Scripture: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

Quote: “On the day of the Lord – the day that God makes everything right, the day that everything sad becomes untrue – on that day the same thing will happen to your own hurts and sadness. You will find that the worst things that ever happened to you will in the end only enhance your eternal delight. On that day, all of it will be turned inside out and you will know joy beyond the walls of the world. The joy of your glory will be that much greater for every scar you bear.”  ~ Timothy Keller

Just imagine that God were to give you that something you might most want from Him right now (career, relationship, health, financial freedom), but in return, take away any one of the things in this list. What a calamity that would be! 

So we must embrace, we must own, we must magnify this truth in our lives.  It is much easier to deal with hard times today if we know there are good times tomorrow.  

Scripture says,

Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth. — Colossians 3:2

In that spirit you might read this list each day for thirty days to burn the truths into your mind.  As we internalize these five powerful truths, as we send them through our minds over and over again, as we fix our minds on their significance, future reality will help us cope with present reality. Then we will begin to experience the power of John 8:32:

You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Written for Devotionals Daily by Max Anders, author of Don’t Sink Your Own Ship.

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Your Turn

Do you live and breathe those truths from Scripture? It’s so easy to forget all of God’s goodnesses because the hard things can demand our attention! What would change for you if you focused on what God has already given you, already done, and has promised to do for you? ~ Devotionals Daily