All four children and I traveled to Wyoming last weekend to see my family, especially my ailing grandmother. While there, my dad thanked me for tools we've given him that travel in his to-the-hills vehicle. My heart filled, knowing that he not only remembers what we gave, but continues to be reminded of us. I was touched by his acknowledgment and remembrance of our gifts.
And just as quickly, I was convicted of my own ingratitude. How often do I thank God and others? For gifts of each day? For surroundings, family and friends? My ingratitude is a measure of self-focus. I am more concerned with myself, my agenda and my own musings than others. Or God. I do not give thanks. I do not remember His goodness. I do not acknowledge the gifts or the Giver. As a result, life is strained, stressful and surprisingly empty.
The experience with my dad reminded me of a discussion I had with a biblical counselor the day we left. He said, "What do we get when God is glorified? We get joy." The beauty of creation or the working out of redemption is an indescribable blessing. In the moment we see it, we are full. Fulfilled. Content. Complete. The revelation of God's goodness, majesty and power speaks. His Spirit within convicts. And we experience the kingdom of God. Heaven. Joy.
Even as Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, his disciples saw a glimpse of His glory and fell on their faces in worship. He is worth the praise, worth the thanks, worth the glory and honor. And in that moment, we understand the small part we play. His who He is apart from my existence. He does not need my worship, but His greatness and holiness demand it. My heart bows in reverence, not because it is mine to give, but because it is His due. Praise is given when we have seen the Lord. We know He that is--He that is hidden, behind the veil--and we are blessed.
In the difficult days of life, in the moments of despair, I am blessed to look upon the Lord. To see Him high and lifted up, to see Him exalted, to visit His glory is to have joy inexpressible. And as my grandmother struggles to manage pain and loneliness, we redirected her to that very God--the One who blesses us through our praise, the One who gives as He receives (read Psalm 71 to encourage the aged saints). He gives grace...and joy...and hope. He is.