Choosing to be Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving Card
During this Thanksgiving week, we remind ourselves of the over-the-top blessings that fill our lives. We thank God for the gifts he gives—too numerous to count. And without hesitation we thank him for the hard times that bring us closer to him. We witness lives plagued with hardship and we read about others. Their gratefulness feeds ours.

I’d like to share an excerpt from Choosing Gratitude, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This comes from the chapter Of Whiners and Worshipers, pages 78-79.

“The old-time hymn writer Fanny Crosby had that choice to make. I’m sure when she learned that her sightless world was the result of a doctor’s foolish mistake, she was forced to deal with wondering what might have been. The hot compresses her physician had employed to cure her eye infection at six weeks of age had only succeeded in scarring sensitive tissue. His act had rendered her permanently blind.

Few of us know what it’s like not to see—not being able to describe the color yellow, or distinguish a loved one’s face in the crowd, or navigate a city block or street crossing simply by spotting obstacles and watching the traffic. What if even the simplest tasks of pouring your breakfast cereal, or counting change, or sorting the laundry required the intently focused attention of your hearing and touch? We forget to be thankful for the blessing of sight.

Yet Fanny Crosby, writer of more than 8000 hymns, enough to fill fifteen complete hymnals stacked one on top of the other, enough to cause her publishers to resort to ascribing to her multiple pen names to make her output seem more believable, saw things another way.

She was thankful for the blessing of blindness.

At eight years of age, she composed this bit of verse, a poem not all that mature in grammar perhaps, but likely more mature than some of us ever become, even in old age:

‘Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world contented I will be,
How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t,
So weep or sigh because I’m blind, I cannot—nor I won’t.

She wrote in her autobiography, “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation.””

Fanny’s story speaks for itself, and one more quote from the book,

When thou hast thanked thy God
For every blessing sent,
What time will then remain
For murmurs or lament?
(R. C. Trench)

This speaks to me—how about you?

5 comments to Choosing to be Grateful

  • Amy Calvetti

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this excerpt. We often get too busy and miss out on the blessings God provides. We often take them for granted. I’m very thankful I’ll get to see part of my family this Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving Janet and everyone out there.

  • Michael Freezer

    I will extol You my God O King, and I will bless Your name, forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:1,2 This is the verse that came to mind, when I read your post. Thanks for sharing, Mike

  • Teresa

    Janet, thanks so much for this post. While reading it this morning, the Lord reminded me that I haven’t thanked Him for a pretty big circumstance that I’m dealing with right now. My focus has been on how to manage it. I’ve certainly spent time in prayer asking God for wisdom on how to deal with this thing, but my pride hasn’t allowed me to be thankful, mostly because I’m more angry than thankful. When I can get to the place of being truly grateful, the wisdom for how to deal with it will come.

  • Holly

    Thank you, Janet. I needed to hear this. Today I choose thankfulness.

  • Jane MB Scott

    I am resolved that in this world contented I will be,

    that’s the line that got to me…I need to pray that one through