In 1971, Lynn Anderson sang a song to a lover who apparently had started to stray. In the opening line, repeated multiple times, Anderson sang “I beg your pardon. I never promised you a rose garden.” Her lover had become disenchanted, presumably because she wasn’t fun anymore or she wasn’t as exciting, doting, or whatever else he thought love should always be. A testament to life in general, not just romantic love, Anderson says there’s going to be rain with the sunshine, and that she wishes she could make his dreams come true all the time. Her “apology” changes tune when she confronts that while she “could sing a tune and promise the moon”, she is not sure she want to keep him if that’s what would make him stay. Perhaps no better break up song, or wake up call, has been written since.
We grow up with an ideal of what life is supposed to look like. Whether Disney or the radio has tinted our view of reality, we often have unrealistic expectations of people in general. We may expect a date to be magical, as well as every day afterward. We might think that love should always feel good and exciting, but the reality is that love is an action, not a feeling. Most of us do not like working, especially if the work is hard or in hard conditions, but the work is satisfying when the task is fulfilled. We are thankful for the outcome despite the energy and frustration that went into it.
Psalm 118 echoes the notion of giving thanks to the Lord for everything. Even in conditions where we are “hard pressed”, we are told to “give thanks”. The key that echoes with Lynn Anderson is brought out in David’s proclamation “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans…princes”. When people trouble us like bees, surrounding us with trouble, we are given the power to “cut them down” and deal with them quickly. Despite every trouble in life, the LORD is able to overcome, and we are able to overcome through His Power and Might. Even when we err and are on the wrong side of where we should be, God continues to correct and restore us to a right relationship. This is why we give thanks in every circumstance, not just when we are “feeling the love”.
Perhaps we have been unrealistic about our expectations of a Godly life. Do we think that everything will be great, we will never suffer or need anything again because God is on our side? Do we think that God will always be on our side when we are wrong and misrepresent both His goodness and His love? Regardless of our perception of what life in God and Christ would be like, a thankful heart for both the affections shown and the discipline received makes the difference when it comes to walking the right path. Our heart toward others changes when we change our hearts toward God and are thankful, “for He is good: His love endures forever.”
Am I thankful for all of the events in my relationships or just the good ones?