The Bible tells us to rejoice in our suffering (See James 1:2-5; Rom 3:3-5) and to give thanks to the Lord in ALL things (See 1 Thess. 5:17; Col. 3:17). Why is it that we have so much trouble doing that?
I mean, I don’t know about you, but in the face of a job loss, a death in the family, a bad diagnosis, the last thing on my mind is thankfulness. Oh, I can give lip service to being thankful. I can recite my gratitude for God’s blessings, but all the while my mind is screaming out: “Oh God! What are we going to do!”
Wouldn’t it be better to save the praise for the miracles? For the answered prayers? They certainly would be a bit more heartfelt, a bit more genuine!
We had some answered prayers yesterday. Two good friends had become estranged. In addition, my son’s university supervisor had been stressed, and as we all do, his stress had bubbled over to his students. Finally, my son had been given an impossible mountain of work to complete in the final week before semester break. Since our kids’ problems quickly become our problems, I had spent a significant amount of time worrying about these things and praying for miracles. Yesterday his friends reconciled, his university supervisor relaxed, and my son finished a good chunk of his required work, with the little bit left being very do-able in the remaining days. We texted back and forth briefly, exchanging exclamations of “praise God”, then I, for one, forgot all about it.
It wasn’t until the next morning that God got through to me. I was reading Ps. 107:1: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (NLT), and I could hear God reminding me of the answered prayers of the night before and asking me if I had given Him thanks.
“Of course, I did, Lord. Don’t you remember? See? It’s right here in the text to my son!”
Somehow, I could sense God wasn’t impressed: How many times did you pray and ask Me to resolve these problems?
“Uh…I don’t know….” If the truth were to be known, and God knows the truth, there were too many times to count. I had been stressing about my son’s mountain of work for weeks, I had been praying about his supervisor for days, and the dispute between his two friends had been the focus of my prayer all of the previous day. It hit me then: How could I say one simple “praise God” in the face of the miracles, when I had spent so many hours stressing out about the problems? Have I become so complacent to God’s blessings? Have God’s victories become so expected that they barely even merit a ‘thank you’? Do we see God’s intervention in our lives as miraculous, or do we simply see that He is giving us our ‘due’?
I read on through Ps. 107: “Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things…. For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron…. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.” (Vs. 8,9,16,22 NLT)
In other words, a simple “thank you” just doesn’t cut it! If we truly wanted the miracle as badly as our prayers make it seem like we did, then we need to be specific in our praise. We need to specifically remember how God is good in ALL our circumstances! Our gratefulness should be expressed in songs and glorious acts! We need to be willing to sacrifice in our joy at having received the answer to our prayers!
Think about that the next time God answers your prayers. Meditate upon the miracle. Sing His praises. Don’t let yourself forget the goodness of the Lord!
We invite you to join us next Tuesday for, Giving God the Praise, Part 2 to look at the reasons why this is so important….
In His Love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.