1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! - Psalm 105:1-2
Thinking on Pastor Duane’s story yesterday has me contemplating those times when suffering enters our lives unnannounced or undeserved. I think the hardest time to say thank you is when we are blind-sided by something that seems unjust or unfair. When a trial comes out of left field, when it is completely unexpected, and is not the result of our sin or anything that we deserve, it can be challenging to understand why God would allow such a difficult circumstance, much less to say thank you for the trial.
Several years ago, I walked through a very difficult trial as the result of a false accusation made against me. The accusation came only a week after suffering though a miscarriage, and the weight of the allegations brought criminal charges, including the possibility of losing my children and my job as a teacher. I was completing confounded by the charges against me, and my initial reaction was far from gratitude. But God. He knew how my faith would deepen in that trial, He knew how my journey would impact those witnessing my trial, and He knew how the outcome would change the life of the child involved in the incident. So much good came out of such an incredibly difficult time in my life, and for that I am humbly grateful.
It was near impossible to thank Him for the trial in the moment I was walking through the valley, but I trusted that He would show up faithful and reveal the truth. And when He did, I shouted His praises. But my gratitude in that trial was different than in trials I had experienced before it. Of course, I was thankful for His deliverance from trial when the accusations against me were unfounded and the charges dropped. As you can imagine, my prayers of gratitude deep and heartfelt. But there was more than the simple “thanks for answering my prayer.” My gratitude went deeper than that - I was thankful for Him allowing that trial in my life because it deepened my faith in a way I know it wouldn’t have grown without it.
I am a bit of a control freak. I see a problem and I immediately begin to work on solutions. The danger with this strategy is that you can become quite self-sufficient. I often jumped in to solve my problems before I let God take care of things. So, He allowed a trial into my life that I could not fix in my own power. The only choice I had was to sit back and wait for God to work in the situation.
I remember the specific moment I decided to let go and trust that God would resolve the issue and deliver me from my trial - it was a significant moment of clarity, followed by an overwhelming sense of peace. My prayers in that trial shifted in that moment - from that moment on, I had complete confidence that God would work things out for my good, and so my prayer requests shifted from me to the little boy involved in the incident.
So when the truth did come out, and God did deliver me from that trial, my gratitude for His work in my life was much deeper than a simple thank you. It was a humble gratefulness for changing my heart, for growing my faith so deep that I could walk through valleys I never imagined I could, and for using me to impact the lives of others for His Kingdom. That trial taught me how to be thankful in any trial because I now had the complete confidence to understand He was working all things out for my good.
One last thought - this verse ends with “tell all of His wondrous works.” That’s not in scripture by happenstance, that is a command give to us by God. When He is faithful to do a mighty work in our lives, God wants us to tell of His mighty work in our lives because He knows our hearts so well. He knows living in this broken world can so quickly land us in the pit of despair, and our fragile hearts can so easily be distracted by the trials in front of us. We need to remind one another of His goodness, we need to tell His stories of faithfulness. Heading those stories strengthens our hearts and our faith and provides a ladder out of the pit. That’s why Pastor Duane continues to tell His story, that’s why I continue to tell my story - because when we do, not only are others lives impacted, but mine is as well.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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