Psalm 98:7-9 (New Living Translation)
7 “Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
9 before the LORD. For the LORD is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.”
I’ve spent part of this beautiful Sunday morning re-reading parts of Ravi Zacharias’s “Recapture the Wonder.”
In the chapter titled “Wonder Unwrapped” there is a wonderful description of what Zacharias calls one of the components of wonder. That component is gratitude and he describes it in the following manner:
“The first necessary component of wonder is profound gratitude. Much about this state of mind we understand, but we commonly embrace so little of it. Charles Caleb Colton said of gratitude, “No metaphysician ever felt the deficiency of language so much as the grateful.” It is felt in the deep recesses of our soul, yet it defies the speech of the most erudite. Benjamin Franklin said, “To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.” That is what I’m talking about, a debt that cannot be repaid even by the most generous. But though it is a debt, it is the only debt one can owe that give him a sense of fulfillment. A gentle pressure applied to a strained muscle can actually hurt, although it brings relief. Physiotherapists will call that a “sweet pain.” A debt of gratitude is somewhat like that – something that reminds you of your need, and someone who is able to meet that need for you.”
“But the word gratitude may need a little explanation. It comes from the same word as freedom. When something is gratis, we consider it free. Gratitude is the freeing expression of a free heart toward one who freely gave.”
“There are two basic emotions within the grateful heart. One erupts on the spur of the moment. It is unstudied and un-enduring. It exercises the heart as a momentary spurt of blood rushing into the blood vessels and then, with equal force, shrinks and disappears into a faint memory as it is replaced by other emotions. A raise from the boss! A new car! A generous gift! They can easily be forgotten and replaced by one unpleasant experience.”
“The gratitude that I am speaking of is not sporadic. It cannot be spent or exhausted. It is the transformation of a mind that is more grateful for the giver than for the gift, for the purpose than for the present, for life itself rather than for abundance. It values a relationship rather than any benefit made possible by the relationship. Even more, it is the capacity to receive, rather than the gift itself, to trust even when the moment seems devoid of immediate fulfillment. It is more than happiness. It is more than peace. In sort, where there is no gratitude, there is no wonder.”
That’s what I’m feeling today. And with that feeling comes a deep inner sense that the beauty and grace around me are even more magnified than words or images can convey. It’s a sense in which two worlds, the eternal and the temporal, are co-opting, bringing deep inner meaning to life.
My hope is that you, the reader, can find that place of wonder and contentment in your life today as well.