Gratitude doesn’t always come naturally to us, but complaining often does. No one had more cause to complain than Joseph. He was abandoned, enslaved, and betrayed. Yet when he talks about his life in Genesis 41, his words aren’t negative or full of complaining about the things he’s had to go through. In naming his two sons, he makes them living, breathing, lifelong testimonies of his gratitude to God. ‘Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief”’ (Genesis 41:51-52 NLT). There are two things we can take from this. Firstly, Joseph looked at the past and gave God thanks for what He had brought him through. We need to do that too. Whether it’s stuff others did to us, or stuff we did to them, God’s grace brought us through it. There’s only one good reason to bring up the past, and that’s to remember how God guided, protected, taught, and blessed us in it. Secondly, Joseph looked at the present. ‘God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.’ We can probably all remember times when we thought we wouldn’t make it through a situation. And sometimes others don’t think we’ll make it either. But in spite of the obstacles and the opposition we’ve had to face, He has blessed us and taken care of us. The Bible says: ‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God…for you.’ And this is how we should be living. Our attitude should be one of gratitude to God, rather than complaining about our lives.
Before you go to bed tonight, write down five things you’re grateful for. See if you can do it each night this week without repeating any.
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