The extra day

This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.

— Psalm 118:24

We rarely think about the gift of life until we have a close call of some sort. It is usually at that moment we start being more thankful for our many blessings, of which being alive is the main one. A close call can reawaken us to the fact that every day we wake up is an "extra day" that we were not promised.

Last fall, my 6-year-old grandson had a sudden, scary attack of croup in the middle of the night. He was having trouble breathing. When sitting in a steamy bathroom didn’t help, we called 911 and ended up in the ER for the next several hours. The next morning, he woke up and ran into the kitchen shouting exuberantly, "I’m still alive!"

I share this story because "I’m still alive" is what we are hearing everyone express after 90-mph straight line winds wreaked havoc in Longview recently. With the widespread damage, we are all grateful for the huge blessing of not having any fatalities or serious injuries.

Gratitude is the prevailing attitude, despite the destruction. Think how it would change our perspective and lives if the first thought that continued to come to our minds each new day was, "I’m still alive!" and the first words we uttered, "Thank you, God."

Ann Voscamp (“One Thousand Gifts”) writes, "When I only give thanks for some things, aren't I likely to miss giving God glory in most things? Murmuring thanks doesn't deny that an event is a tragedy and neither does it deny that there's a cracking fissure straight across the heart. Giving thanks is only this: making the canyon of pain into a megaphone to proclaim the ultimate goodness of God. We are to hold on to his promises, and we give thanks….Without counting blessings, our lives lose the song, the light — the beat of God’s heart.”

What if we were to begin "giving thanks in all things" — not only the good things but also the hard things — and make gratitude a habit?

What if we started paying attention and becoming more cognizant of God’s blessings each day, both big and small?

Each extra day God gifts us with a new song to sing — what if we sang it?

***

Sing a new song to the Lord!

Sing it everywhere around the world!

Sing out his praises! Bless his name!

Each day tell someone that he saves.

Publish his glorious acts throughout the earth.

Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

For the Lord is great beyond description,

and greatly to be praised.

(Psalm 96:1-4)

***

Always be joyful. Always keep on praying.

No matter what happens, always be thankful.

For this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

(I Thessalonians. 5:16-18)

***

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are;

help us to spend them as we should.

(Psalm 90:12)