A Lesson on Gratitude

There can be no doubt that God is displeased with that spirit which causes us to murmur and complain at our lot. An appreciation of divine goodness, of which we are all partakers, awakens in the heart a continual offering of praise which glorifies God. A moment’s thought will convince almost any one that he has more blessings than lie could justly claim, and that there are many others around him whose adversities and sufferings are greater than his own.

A lesson upon this point made a deep impression on my mind. I once formed the acquaintance of an aged lady who had journeyed from England to spend her last years with a brother in Wisconsin. I was at once impressed by the sense of gratitude which was expressed in her looks, in all she said and did, and in apparent love for every object around her. This was so prominent that I allowed myself to suppose it might be put on before company for appearance’s sake. After a brief acquaintance, I did not see her again for perhaps two years. Upon visiting that community again, I learned that the lady was suffering great affliction and wished to see me. A scrofulous disease had appeared in her system, attacking her feet and hands. One of the former was consumed, and the other nearly so. She was quite deaf, and had lost the sight of one eye. The nature of her disease was such that she could not associate with the family, and she did not receive that attention which her sufferings demanded. It was with a heavy heart that I went to see her, realizing somewhat the feelings of Job’s comforters who sat for seven days speechless when they witnessed the unmitigated distress of their friend, and felt themselves incapable of assuaging his grief or explaining the reason for his affliction.

But upon entering her room, I was gladly surprised to see the happiness of a peaceful heart expressed on her countenance, accompanied by an exclamation of praise and gratitude to God. I then had the privilege of listening, not to a long recital of woes and complaints, but to an experience full of the blessing of God without a word of repining. True, she longed for rest, but with a patient resignation to the will and time of the Lord. She thanked the Lord that he had permitted her to retain the use of one eye, with which she could read the Bible. The book being placed before her, she could spend the weary hours reading its precious pages. It was not long, however, before she found rest in the quiet grave. I learned from friends that throughout all her sufferings she did not utter one word of complaint or impatience. That interview was a blessing to me. The grace of God had sweetened that nature and life, and the savor was a sacrifice pleasing to God and men. I went out from her presence a humbled and I trust a thankful man, ashamed of my complaints, and thrilled with a sense of that grace which enables the true child of God to “glory in tribulation also.”

— G.C. Tenney, Review and Herald, April 21, 1885

Historical Author

This is a republished article or book excerpt from early Adventist history. The author will be credited at the end of the article.

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