I was having prayer time this morning (which is beautiful by the way, looking out my windows onto the snowy landscape) and I came across this verse:
He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me;
To him who orders his way aright
I will show the salvation of God.
This struck me because of how it points out that Christ asks us to praise Him in all circumstances, not simply when we are thanking Him for a blessing He has given us. He wants us to give thanks as a sacrifice. Sometimes, praising God for what He has done in our lives is painful.
Sure, I can be joyful today and praise Him in thanksgiving because my morning classes were canceled (again!) and I now have freedom to finish some more homework, study for tests, and take an extra long, relaxing time enjoying my coffee with my new toffee almond creamer. *Side note: I feel like I mention coffee a lot. The only reason for this is because I usually write these in the mornings when I am enjoying it. I’m not an addict. Yet.
Of course God is delighted when I thank Him for these beautiful blessings, but how often do I come to Him in a spirit of thanksgiving when things are going terribly wrong, as they often do a few times a
year month day. Have we ever thought about thanking Him for the inconveniences, the accidents, and the painful things that happen to us throughout the day? Do we thank Him for unexpected interruptions in our schedule by a person we have a hard time loving or because we never grew up with dishwashers and didn’t know you shouldn’t put in regular dish soap into the dishwasher and now have soap suds covering the entirety of your kitchen floor? Oh yeah, me neither.
I will admit, it does come to mind and then I usually dismiss it in my selfishness and instead get frustrated. Which helps nothing. At the time I usually rationalize it to myself in my petty pity party which I like to fall into.
I also don’t think to thank Him for my own weaknesses. Think about it: God gives us our talents and gifts, but we also have weaknesses that we are called to work on, and these weaknesses, if we are open and docile to the Holy Spirit, will bring us in deeper communion with Christ.
I’m reading this amazing book called Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence: The secret of peace and happiness and basically it spells out the key to our happiness which is aligning our desires with His. This morning I read this great part:
Poverty serves to keep you humble while your nature is proud;
The scorn of the world to free you from your attachment to it;
Illness to keep you from the pleasure-seeking which would be your ruin.
Yes, I can thank the Lord for my embarrassing lack of athletic talent and how I don’t have a body like Tanya from Insanity because it keeps me humble. I can thank the Lord that I’m not the most popular person at my school because it allows me to remember that I’m not seeking success as my ultimate goal but I’m seeking Heaven.
A practical way to carry this out I’ve found is to listen to the Litany of Humility by Danielle Rose in the mornings when I’m getting ready. It helps me to stay centered and grounded in truth (Especially the “Deliver me from the desire of being appreciated and preferred” part).
Another odd little way I’ve carried this out was inspired by Facebook. A friend posted one day “All the bananas – praise the Lord. All the computers – praise the Lord.” I thought this was hilarious and my housemate and I have started saying this about things that we don’t like. For example, we have this death march every day called the “raven walk + a class in St. Ben’s” which contains a grand total of 345345 stairs, which never get any easier to walk up no matter how much Insanity I do. So we will say, usually with gritted teeth: “All the stairs – praise the Lord.” And it reminds me that Christ is good and He gives us all good things for a reason. It also usually makes me giggle which brings up my mood as well!
Enjoy your day today and remember to give God thanksgiving for all He has done, because He knows us and what we need better than we ever could know ourselves.