The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is gratefulness. Gratitude arises from the lived perception, evaluation, and acceptance of all of life as grace – as an undeserved and unearned gift from the Father’s hand. Such recognition and acceptance of the gift is implicitly and acknowledgment of the Giver. (Ruthless Trust, p. 24-25)
To walk in gratitude is a way of living that inclusive, attentive, contagious, and theocentric.
Gratitude is inclusive…The sorely missed Henri Nouwen wrote of the spiritual work of gratitude:
To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives – the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections – that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift from God to be grateful for. Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.
Yes, gratitude is inclusive. As psychoanalyst Eric Erickson once noted, there are only two choices: integration and acceptance of our whole life-story, or despair. Thus, the apostle Paul writes, “For all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).
(Ruthless Trust, p. 30-31)