I’ve had some extra time with the Lord on this quiet Saturday morning, and He is making Himself clear. As I’ve prayed through today’s reading in Handbook to Prayer (I’ll share more about this little gem one of these days.), I’ve been reminded once again of Philippians 4:6-7 and the command to turn over my worries to God and to THANK Him. I don’t know why I have to be reminded of this so often, and I wish I could master it, but at the same time I’m thankful that God cares enough about me to continue to remind me and encourage me. He doesn’t give up. He is faithful.
As I turned to where I left off in The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, I found this:
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. — Psalm 34:1
The choice before you and me today is this: Do we only give God glory for the parts of our lives that are going the way we want? Or do we worship Him, trust Him, and give Him thanks just because He is God, regardless of the dark, painful, incomprehensible places we encounter along our journey?
Look, it’s a sacrifice either way. If we go on without gratitude, choosing to be bitter, bemoaning our fate, we force ourselves to live in these already unhappy conditions with the added drag of our gloomy disposition. We sacrifice peace; we sacrifice contentment; we sacrifice freedom and grace and joy. But what if we could maintain all these things — and even increase them beyond anything we’ve ever experienced — by making just one sacrifice: the sacrifice of thanksgiving?
If you must go through what you’re facing now anyway (should God choose not to lift it from you miraculously, which He can always do and for which you may certainly pray), why make it even worse by withdrawing from His grace and fellowship, enduring life on the raw edge without relying on Him for help? Be it disappointment, be it physical suffering, be it mental and relational anguish, why not see what could happen if you let your pain drive you to His side?
Yes, to give thanks in all things may require a sacrifice. And no, it may not change your situation, perhaps not even a little. But it will put you in the only position possible for experiencing everything God desires for you throughout this hard stretch of life. That’s the promise of gratitude.
~~~It may feel a bit insincere to give thanks under certain circumstances, perhaps even manipulative. But we counsel and train our hearts by such steps of obedience. Offer the sacrifice of thanks, and let God’s truth lift and sustain your spirit.
I love my God who cares enough about me to communicate clearly to me. I don’t have to guess about His will. He wants me to pray and give thanks in all situations. And He wants this for me because He knows it’s the best thing for me.
And for you!