By Lisa Leidenfrost
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (2 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
“Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:13-15).
“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me” Psalm 50:23.
Offering God praise and thanksgiving pleases Him. And notice that circumstances don’t change the command. Even in trouble, we are to offer thanksgiving as we call upon God to help us. Then He delivers us as He sees fit. All of this glorifies Him and He is pleased with it. But it helps us as well. When we choose to rejoice, praise Him and offer thanksgiving, it helps change our way of thinking and puts us within a framework to handle the trial with grace so that we can ride over it a lot easier. There is no situation so dire that we can’t thank God through it, or even for it. Praise and thanksgiving are what keeps the ship afloat in troubled waters and steers it through to calmer seas. Without these, the boat could sink in the waves of self pity, doubt and depression.
What do you thank and praise Him for when all goes wrong? A good place to start is thanking Him for who He is and what He will do with the present circumstances. You can thank Him for how you know He has your good in mind even if you don’t understand it. It is affirming that you’re going to trust Him with what He has given you.
But what if you are already under the weight of self pity and gloomy thinking? Then start by confessing your lack of faith in Him with where He is going with this present circumstance. If this is difficult, then back up and first lay down your arms, and quit fighting God. Let go of the way you thought things should have been, and give it all up into His loving hands. It is an active choice, laying down your will at His feet and taking up His. Doing this means you also make a choice that pleasing God wherever He leads is more important than getting your ideal life. Once you yield everything up, then you can move forward with the next step where the true battle field lies.
The true battle field is the day to day training of your mind in the multiple ways you choose to think one way instead of another. It is like training daily over a long period of time for a hard marathon with the goal of being able to run the race without stumbling. Some of the choices that you make will be these:
Giving your ‘amen’ to what He has chosen for you even if it is hard.
Accepting what you can’t change after trying to change what you can.
Choosing to rejoice and thank Him for everything even when you don’t feel like it.
Making an active choice to believe in God’s promises, even if they don’t seem to apply to you at the moment.
Making that daily choice to run to Him for guidance, strength and comfort, instead of away from Him because He is too dangerous.
“For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” Psalm 36:9.
As you obey, you will be walking in the light. When you do, you will be given more light to see your circumstances correctly. But if you choose to remain in the darkness of your self pity and gloom, you will have less light to be able to understand or interpret the current events, and less capacity to surmount them. It all starts with making that initial choice to run to Jesus with no stops barred, full and complete, no matter how you feel or where it leads. You did that initially at the point of salvation, why should it stop now? Your hat must be in the ring to live through whatever hard thing He has chosen for you knowing full well, that He loves you, has your good in mind, and will be able to take care of you with His abundance in His own way, at His own time out of the store house of His riches.
At the end of your life, looking back from the vantage point of heaven, you will give your ‘amen’ to what God has done in your life. So why not give it now, and at least be credited with faith for it. If you wait until then, it will no longer be faith because at that point, you’ll be able to perfectly see and faith will no longer be needed.
You can see this blog post and Lisa’s others here.