“I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:17)
What can be done? What can you POSSIBLY do when your life seems to be shattered beyond repair? Some curl up in despair…while others take ACTION of one kind or another, designed to deal with the problem, perhaps with the thought that it will take a person’s mind off the issue even if the plans don’t work. There’s got to be a better way…and there is!
I’ve been enjoying a publication called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. It’s a daily devotional using actual Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments, designed to help us with the contemporary problems that plague our lives. This book truly speaks to the one who listens.
I was touched deeply by her June 22nd segment which was based on two Scriptures as these daily articles often are. The verses for June 22nd are: “I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:17)…along with another: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:4-6)
Here’s what was said in “Jesus Calling” for June 22nd in relation to these words in Scripture, the Word of God—“Thank Me for the very things that are troubling you…Thanking Me for trials will feel awkward and contrived at first. But if you persist, your thankful words, prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart. Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems.”
That’s a third way of looking at life. Instead of despair, instead of human efforts, go to the Lord and THANK Him for the very “insolvable” situation you are facing right now. As the author of “Jesus Calling” observes, God is asking us in these Scriptures to do the humanly impossible—to be thankful in the midst of all the problems life can throw at you.
Have you ever noticed the wonderful impossibility of Philippians 4:4-6? You and I are to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Once your faith is solidly in the Lord, rejoicing in Him becomes part of your life. He is indeed wonderful! He loves you enough to die for you and He did exactly that! You can see it, can’t You?—He who did not need to die, died in our place—for you and for me. He loves us more than personal safety…more than life itself. But all too often we have tended to draw back in fear of letting Him completely control our lives.
When trouble comes, we, little creatures that we are, retreat inside and try to succeed through our own efforts! But those are times to THANK the Lord who delivers us. When we are in despair we need Him more than ever. These are moments to thank Him…to “Rejoice in the Lord.”
That is what the psalmist learned, the person who wrote Psalm 116—he was in terrible trouble but trusted in the Lord, knowing that God is good. Here’s what he said—“I love the Lord because He has heard my voice…The pains of death encompassed me…I found trouble and sorrow…Then I called on the name of the Lord…deliver my soul! Gracious is the Lord and righteous; yes, our God is merciful…The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low and He saved me…You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears and my feet from falling…I believed (and) spoke. ‘I am greatly afflicted.’ I said in my haste, ‘all men are liars.’ What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Your servant…You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord…” (Psalm 116).
The psalmist’s life had gone from acceptable to bad, and like the rest of us, he had choices. He could blame other people as we are prone to do. Another common approach is work out a series of attempts to solve the problem. That’s not a bad idea, unless we leave out prayer—we are so likely to try solutions that just don’t work. A third idea is to blame it all on God, which is what the atheist does. As individuals and as a group they are so angry at the Lord for His ways of doing things that they pretend He does not exist.
Within the midst of the troubles that afflict us all, try saying “Thank You” to the Lord. If you don’t do it, according to the “Jesus Calling” devotion for June 22nd—something worse than your situation is likely to arise—The author said: “You are tempted to indulge in just a little complaining about My treatment of you. But once you step over that line, torrents of rage and pity can sweep you away. The best protection against this indulgence is thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time.”
One of the Scriptures cited earlier (Philippians 4:4-6) continues with the words, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” There’s even more as it continues in Verse 7—“And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.”
“Peace.” It’s so wonderful and yet the world offers so little of it. There is something of joy found in peace, and there is deep peace within joy. “Thanksgiving” is a distinct form of prayer which acknowledges God’s existence, believes that He is interested in helping us, knows that He is strong enough to do it, and that He will fix what’s wrong because of His infinite love.
To have such faith is to move outside of our limited human understanding. The faith to thank Him in the midst of bad situations is something like an intellectual death. That’s why the writer of Psalm 116 included the words, “I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Your servant…You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.” The phrase “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” can refer to the death of our bodies, but even more it is about surrendering when life seems shattered and trusting in the Lord. It’s the “death” of our do-it-yourself religion.
Dear Father, I offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord. Yes life is hard, but I trust You and thank You that my life is just as it is. You know what is best and I surrender to Your will. I love You and I thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen
Friday Study Ministries, The First Church On The
Net, appreciates your prayers & financial support in doing the work of the Lord. Please donate on-line or mail donations to:
Friday Study Ministries
P.O. Box 92131,
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131 USA