Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. ~Psalm 100:4 MSG
I sit staring at the screen, once again wondering which of my favorite passwords I used on this website the last time I visited. The error message indicates I have logged in here before, previously assigning an account and password to the email address I entered. As I try several options, another error message pops up to tell me I’m getting close to being locked out of the site for too many failed attempts. As usual, I think to myself that I ought to download one of those password saver apps I often see advertised instead of relying on memory to store what seems like hundreds of passwords for hundreds of sites. How many hours have I spent guessing passwords to gain access to the place I want to be?
When I read Psalm 100:4 in The Message Bible paraphrase, I thought about this password game we all play in the internet age. This verse in, for some of us, the more familiar King James Version of the Bible says we should “enter into his gates with thanksgiving.” But something about this modern paraphrase sparks a fresh perspective on gratitude and the part it plays in our search for God. Like my struggle to remember passwords, how many hours have I spent trying to figure out the foolproof way to get closer to God?
What if something as simple as whispering thank you could grant me access to the heart of God—the place I long to be?
I’m driving to the grocery store and I see a fiery red autumn tree. I whisper Thank you, God.
I look out my window, a steaming cup of coffee in my hand, and watch the gently falling snow from the warmth of my comfy house. I whisper Thank you, Jesus.
I look across the table at the faces of my beloved daughters laughing together, home for a visit for a few days. I whisper Thank you, God.
I open my Bible looking for answers, brokenhearted by the pain in the world around me, and I read words that bring me comfort and peace, words that seem to be written just for me. Once again, I whisper Thank you, Jesus.
Our Abba Father doesn’t hide from us or play hard to get. God is always there, as close as our next breath, yet sometimes he seems far away despite our efforts to feel his presence and hear his voice. Because I know God never changes, sometimes a shift in my perspective is the pathway back to his presence. While there are no magic wands I wave to make God appear, I know I’m more likely to experience God more deeply when I soften my heart by entering into his courts with thanksgiving. By simply noticing the gifts of grace that surround me and saying thank you, I open the door to my heart and invite God to abide in me again.
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