I recently asked you to join me in a commitment to give God thanks always for all things. How is that coming? Has it been easy to do? Has it changed your life in any way? Or, perhaps your experience has been like mine—extremely challenging because of a series of back to back problems. Since writing that web article I have been involved in a serious car accident which totaled one of our vehicles; my daughter, who was born with a chronic lung disease, has faced decreasing health which has resulted in more doctor visits, more medicines, and more medical bills; speaking of bills, a very large one that we had no knowledge of from two years ago has suddenly surfaced through no fault of ours; and the list goes on. All of these woes have caused me to understand why the Bible refers to the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It really requires nothing of us to give God thanks when all is well; who wouldn’t be grateful. However, it costs us greatly to offer God praise and thanksgiving in the midst of painful, heartbreaking, frustrating situations.
According to the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, one of the definitions of sacrifice is “to destroy, surrender, or suffer to be lost for the sake of obtaining something.” Purity of praise and thanksgiving is the “something” that is obtained when we continue to thank God despite suffering and loss. Adversity skims all of the impurities from our thanksgiving and praise, thus leaving a pure and genuine offering that is precious to God because it is not based in any circumstance, but only in the fact that God is worthy of praise despite the storms of life. I no longer need the perfect situation to prompt praise and thanksgiving in my heart. I praise Him simply because He is God Almighty, and He so loved me that he gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life! (John 3:16)
What you profess as a Christian will be tested because the purity of your devotion, your faith, your commitment, your worship, and your love must be revealed. Anything that is not genuine is an imitation. It may look real, but that’s as far as it goes. The Bible describes it as a form of godliness that has no power. (II Timothy 3:5) That which is in its purest form is very potent and expensive. I have found that pure thanksgiving to God always for everything costs a great deal, but it is well worth the price because God’s power in any life makes all things work together for good to them that love Him and who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) My life is not about my pleasure and contentment. It is about His purpose and His glory. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
It is simply wonderful to be able to thank and praise God in any situation! Learning to do so doesn’t feel good at all. It can be downright miserable! But once the pure oil of thanksgiving and praise begins to ooze from your heart, mourning will be turned to dancing and sorrow transformed into joy unspeakable and full of glory. I don’t know how it works—I just know that it does, and I’m so thankful to God for that. I praise Him and honor His great name!
From my heart to yours,