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Sermon - 1 Chronicles 16:34 - Thankful

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Thankful

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever" (1 Chronicles 16:34)

The person whose eyes don’t function can truly understand what it is to be blind. Everybody else must merely guess what that condition might be like. I remember as a small boy, shutting my eyes tightly and trying to walk around in our tiny house of the time, wondering what it would be like to lack physical vision. I thought I understood, but to actually be blind is much more profound than to pretend you are for just a few moments.

As these words are written, I should be thankful that I have a keyboard to write them on, fingers that can press those keys, the ability to type, a skill that I resisted when it was first presented to me in school, a brain that can comprehend what it’s all about, and eyes that can see to do it. But how thankful are we most of the time? Do we feel smug about what we are, thinking we can see, when in fact we are all actually blind to what’s really important? And do we resent not having something we want in life?

The places we walk in and inhabit are actually full of angelic beings, and if we could see them, we would fall down with astonishment, but we generally don’t see because we are blind to the greater part of reality. Our Almighty, beautiful God is here, right in front of us, but we don’t see Him because we are blind to His Presence. Astonishing cherubim covered with eyes, having multiple wings and each with four faces are before us, but we blithely don’t see them. Those wonderful cherubim lift their mighty wings in praise to God on His Throne, but we are unaware because we are unable to see.

Time is so interesting. It’s like a rapidly moving river. We were tossed into it when we were born and have been caught in its current ever since. It moves in only one direction, the sides are too steep for us to climb out, we can’t go backwards in time because the current is too fast, and so we are swept forward into a future in which we cannot see what’s ahead. We are blind to the next minute, the very next second in time. Often others are paid to forecast what is thought to be the future, and not unlike divining sheep entrails, stock brokers and other forecasters confidently tell us what they themselves do not know. The "experts" are blind to the future just like everybody else.

In that tiny house as a child, I began bumping into chairs, tables and other objects that I could have avoided if I looked, but I did not see because my eyes were closed and I kept bumping things. If I continued my quest to learn about blindness I might have been injured. God lives in the future. He is with us in the present and also in the past we cannot reach or change. Our eyes are closed like mine were as a child, our perception is limited and our resources are few. We must look to Him for He who can see is the only One we can trust to get us through. And to trust Him is to become—thankful!

God has protected us from seeing too much because we are tiny children, easily frightened. The unseen beings that protect might terrify us if we saw them in our limited understanding. Tomorrow or next week is more than we can handle because we are not ready—our faith in God’s provision is still developing within us. We are to grow in trust that He knows what He is doing and discover the faith that His plan is infinitely better than ours. Our hand must be in in His because He is strong, intelligent, capable, loving, all-knowing—He can see!

Often we have not been thankful because we did not get what we want when we wanted it. Our plans didn’t work out and we don’t understand His. It’s in such situations that faith has its opportunity. Our sullen resentment deep inside is a wound that we must take to the Cross of Christ for healing to begin. He is the Cure, not only for our blindness, but also for our resentment of it. He intends that our hurts will be healed and that our resentment will be turned into the wondrous gift of thanksgiving.

Why has God allowed your problem to proceed to the “eleventh hour” or even later and no solution appears to be in sight? Why have you failed in some key way? Why do your prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling, to the point where you may have given up praying altogether? God is waiting for you. He is patiently ahead in the stream of time, looking from eternity at you, waiting for you to understand that He is the Author of the river, He’s already in tomorrow—and He loves you. He knows that you will finally stop thrashing around in fear of drowning in your problems and that you will trust the God who loved you enough to become your Savior.

Our great need is to trust Him BEFORE we are rescued from the river. Each of us wants the great rushing force of time to become a gentle stream. We think we would be happy if “do-overs” were given, allowing us to go back in time and do it better. We’d actually do it worse than before because we are not yet eternal perfected beings who don’t make bad decisions. For right now, even our mistakes of yesterday and today are useful mechanisms that bring us to the faith we need. To have such faith is to trust the One who KNOWS the river, who designed and built it in the first place. He is the One who carefully placed you into time and He is the One who will bring you through. REST in the Lord, the King of glory! He has gone ahead of you, incredibly being drowned in the sinfulness of this world, choosing the cross as His strange but wonderful means of saving you and me. Grab His cross—it floats. Grab HIM—He will bring you through.

Thankfulness is a form of faith. I open my eyes, my heart to Him and become thankful for what I am, what I see—and for what I don’t have and don’t see as well. We are to be thankful that He who is with us will save us. Let’s thank Him now.

Father, there is much I do not see and even more that I do not know. Instead of fear, I choose to thank You. I trust that You are doing what is right, even when I do not understand. I see You with eyes of faith. In am Yours. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FirstChurchOnTheNet.org
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"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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