They say a picture says 1000 words. But what if it doesn’t tell the true story?
The photo below was taken at my daughter’s last cross country meet. The girls’ varsity team huddled together in prayer. This is customary for their team and many teams. They often gather before the race to encourage each other and then to ask God’s help over the course of their race… for strength, safety, and perseverance. Things you’d expect, right?
But that’s not what was happening.
This is a post-race huddle. After the girls caught their breath and let their heart-rates settle, they circled-up for a second time that afternoon. Sweaty brows unabashedly pressed against those of others. Arms pulling each other in for a holy moment together. To return thanks to God for allowing them to run. For having given them the strength. For carrying them through.
My throat is tight as I write. I choke back tears because it wasn’t until I scrolled through my photos from the meet that I realized that I hadn’t done this myself. Before the race, I’d prayed over my daughter, who is recovering from an injury, that her feet would be sure. But I hadn’t paused to thank God for His faithfulness to that maternal request after the race.
How often we don’t.
It’s an age-old problem, this lack of gratitude. Take the nine lepers:
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
— Luke 17:11-19 ESV
I want to be like the one. How about you?
I’m so sorry, Lord. Deeply sorry for my lack of gratitude.
Help me, please, to grow in mindfulness of your gifts to me,
and to acknowledge you more.