For the people that are Christians and live in countries that are predominantly Christian ‘friendly’, it could be very easy to be thankful for God’s blessings, and as genuine as those thankful feelings might be, there is a different appreciation of those feelings and expressions of them if one lives in a setting that is not so accommodating. For instance, it is like a flame shining inside of a lit room or a flame shining inside of a dark room – you will notice the glow inside of the darker room with greater clarity.
Could this be why people sometimes have moments of clarity in times that are unexpected and not so bright? Pictured another way, if someone loses their grip on thankfulness with God, it could be like wind blowing from all over the place and the flame is waving in all directions which puts it in danger of being put out. Imagine a person who is doing all kinds of things like travelling, working, and other such things at a pace that they lose track of what they are doing, lose track of who they are, lose track of time, lose track of their family – this means that they are losing the clarity of how the flame burns. It is like they are losing their thankfulness and identity in God. That is bad news. The person might think it is their own strength and know how that made them successful, when in fact, that is false. It is God who made it possible. And we know what God does when people become too haughty and prideful – he brings them back down to earth – as in the story of Nebuchadnezzar.
The opposite side of this coin – the one that has me impressed all the time – is how people are thankful to God even when the situation they are in makes it very hard. Maybe the person lives in an area that has flooding issues, or a country that persecutes Christians, or is in jail, or has endured many hardships in their life of any kind you can think of. And yet through it all, their faith is strong, their thankfulness to God is high, their relationship with Jesus is strong – and their sense of freedom and identity is very clear. The understanding that these people have of themselves, their identity in Christ, and their foundation in Godly principles means that no matter how muddy the situation they encounter is, their flame is glowing brightly, clearly, and strongly – such that they are distinct and separate from all of the others.
That is the type of power and freedom that God our father and shepherd brings to His sheep.
Praise be to God.