(A psalm. For giving grateful praise.) Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)
A recent incident left our family in a bit of a tailspin. We ran around in circles trying to find answers that weren’t showing up anywhere. In the darkness of our situation, I cried out to God for help. The word came back from so many different places and echoed around me :– ‘Give thanks’. (Give thanks …? Are you kidding me?)
Sure … Give thanks … for this? What did we do to invite this upon us? Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) “Give thanks …? “But why?!” I shouted to the pain. Why? Why? Why?!! He offered His peace and spoke the answers to my heart:- Worrying won’t change a thing (refer to Luke 12:25). And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
In the midst of the pain, I took a step back and tried to look at the circumstances from His point of view. If He was truly telling me to give thanks, then there must be something I needed to learn. As I pulled the situation apart piece by piece, I was moved to tears. It could have been so much worse! ( Our initial reactions are not always the best for assessing our reality. Emotions get in the way of reason and our perceptions create imaginary threats.) In perspective, it really wasn’t as bad as we thought. The story could have had a much different ending.
We’re still working on getting to where God wants us to be. I still trust Him to show us how to make sense of the baffling questions. Until He chooses to, I will build an altar and I will give thanks. I’ve decided to go back to the old ways. I will make a list … a list of everything that’s not going the way I planned them. On the other side of the page, I will make a list of every good thing that is in my life. I know the good ones will far outweigh the others but I will praise Him for those as well. God alone is able to turn my mourning to dancing and my sorrow to joy.
I don’t know where you are in your walk today. I don’t know what trials you’ve had to face. I don’t know what ills are beating against your door. I’ve been to the edge and back and I still don’t understand why He does the things He does. I still have questions but I’m learning to leave them at His feet. I have much to learn but I will share with you the one thing of which I am certain: “If God is with you, none can stand against you (Refer to Romans 8:31)
Father … I give You thanks because You are good and Your mercies endure forever. You are faithful and true and You already know the end of this story. I give You thanks because healing comes from Your hand and there’s no sorrow You can’t cover with Your love. I am thankful, very thankful for all the blessings You have poured into my life. I am thankful for the family and friends You’ve blessed me with and I believe that even though the ground we stand on may shift around us, You hold us in the palm of Your hands and nothing can harm us unless You choose to allow it. Today I give back to you all You’ve given to me and I say thank You for the way You love me. I may never have all the answers but I live with the knowledge that nothing takes You by surprise and that You see the beginning and the end at the same time. It’s dark outside but I am thankful for Your word which has proven to be “ a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:10). I choose to trust You. I choose to praise You. I choose to give You thanks! He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:23)
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