The Secret To A Grateful Heart

Thankfulness grows when we see life from the widow’s perspective. There once was an old widow who prayed to God every day. Her neighbor was a skeptic. He despised her devout faith. One day as he strolled by her home he heard her praying,

“Dear God, I’m out of food, please provide me with what I need.”

Seizing an opportunity to dispel her faith, the man went to the grocery store. He bought three bags of groceries, put them on the old woman’s porch, rang the doorbell and hid behind the bushes. The widow came out and seeing the groceries broke into a cry of thanksgiving.

“Oh thank you dear God, I needed this food and you provided.”

At just that moment, the skeptic jumped from behind the bushes and yelled, “You old fool! God didn’t provide those groceries. I did.”  “Oh no you didn’t,” she replied calmly, “God did!”  “Did not!” the skeptic shouted back.  “Did too!” said the woman. “Did not!” he roared. Back and forth they went until the skeptic played his trump card. He pulled out the receipt for the groceries, waved it in front of the woman and sneered, “Here’s the receipt you old biddy. What do you think of that?”

“Well,” exclaimed the woman, “God provided groceries and even had the devil pick up the bill!”

The widow had great perspective. Whether the food was delivered like manna from above or deposited by “the devil” below, she recognized God as the Source who was in control of it all. It is that perspective that helps us maintain the attitude of gratitude. Writing to friends, many of whom were restless, disappointed, and a little insecure, Paul said:

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)

The key to a grateful heart is found in the little preposition “in.” “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

  • In the best of times and the worst of times
  • In long days and sleepless nights
  • In times of plenty and when times are tight
  • In flat tires and flat faith
  • In great health and failing health
  • On top of the world or the deepest valley

We can give thanks . . . when we recognize that God is in control of every event of our lives. History is a great place to look to verify this truth. George Müller spent a lifetime depending on God to meet his needs and the needs of thousands of orphans under his care. He said,

Where Faith begins, anxiety ends; Where anxiety begins, Faith ends.

What challenge are you facing today? Here's some good news to chase away your dark clouds: God is right there with you, and He is in control. That's the secret to a grateful heart.

Today, give thanks in every circumstance and let God drive away your anxiety.


1The Autobiography of George Müller