Janie B. Cheaney: “Thank you, Lord” | WORLD
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Janie B. Cheaney: “Thank you, Lord”


WORLD Radio - Janie B. Cheaney: “Thank you, Lord”

Gratitude sees beyond our circumstances “to the One who created them—and us”

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NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, November 22nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Up next: thankfulness. WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney says Christians should especially cherish knowing whom to thank.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Sometimes in this crazy modern life we come across videos on social media that make us wonder if our legs are being pulled. Is this satire, or do the speakers mean what they say? That was my thought upon watching a complaint posted on Twitter—sorry, X—by a self-identified Social Justice Warrior. The SJW was retweeting—or whatever you call it now—a video from a young lady ruminating on the vanity of life in a style worthy of Ecclesiastes.

The girl’s beef is that people shouldn’t be expected to work for their bread. “Like, we never ask to be born, but we’re obligated to do labor until we die. Huh?” The whole story, according to her, is that we have to work to afford houses we’re never at because we’re working, and vehicles we must have in order to get to work, and taxes we must work in order to pay, and food we must work in order to buy, and, well, you get the point. Her conclusion is, “Like, somebody tell me that this is fair. Like, is it lazy to just want to enjoy life? Like, why do we have to work? Why?” After a pregnant pause, she puts a hand to her forehead and sighs, “I’m stressed.”

Three possibilities: It’s a joke, or this girl works 12-hour days in a shoelace factory straight out of Dickens, or she’s really wondering why she just can’t have stuff. As someone whose mother had to practically push her out of the house to go apply for a summer job, I can sympathize with the foot-dragging. But I never doubted why. And afterwards I could look back and be grateful for what my summer jobs gave me: not just a paycheck, but a wider experience of the world, and new acquaintances, and even a few skills to take to the next job.

Gratitude is the point, and I suspect this girl’s root problem is a lack of it. Not to be too judgey, but that’s the root problem of much dissatisfaction with life. It’s not that we should fall to our knees with thankfulness when the car needs a new transmission, or we get slapped with a penalty for late-filing our taxes, or a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal disease. But an undercurrent of gratitude for life itself—its joys, its challenges, its welcome and unwelcome surprises—helps us see possibilities more than futility. Especially when we can see beyond circumstances to the One who created them, and us.

My husband’s dementia is advanced to where he can’t make logical sentences out of free-floating words. But he still says our morning prayer over breakfast. It always begins, “Thank you, Lord” before wandering off into abstractions. When he remarks, in his own way, on the lack of cohesion, I remind him, “You can’t go wrong saying Thank You.” Especially when you know Whom to thank.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

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