I have a theory about why we sometimes grumble and why we’re sometimes grateful. My theory is that our attitudes are based almost entirely on our expectations.
For example, you step outside of your house and experience a 66-degree day. Do you grumble, or are you grateful? Depends on what you expected. If it’s your summer vacation and you expected 86 degrees, grumble. If it’s January in Wisconsin and you expected 6 degrees, SO grateful! Get my point? Your gratitude is not based so much on what you experience but on what you expected.
I wonder if this isn’t the key to a grateful soul. When we believe we’re good people who deserve a good life from God, we expect more than we experience and grumble when hard times happen. But when we believe we’re sinful people who deserve nothing good from God, we overflow with gratitude toward the God who forgives us, saves us, and gives even the smallest physical blessing to us.
Paul, a man who experienced incredible pain in his life, wrote, “Grace . . . may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15). The Bible has a simple equation for gratitude: Remember what you deserve (God’s wrath). Remember what you experience because of grace (God’s love). React accordingly (thank you, Jesus!).
That’s how you resist a grumbling spirit and embrace a grateful one.