WOW… how incredibly blessed I am!! I wonder… from that statement alone, can you conclude if I’ve had a great day or a bad day? Were my expectations met or not? Can you tell? I feel safe in saying that a majority of those I asked would likely say my day was great. But as Christians, we’re called to sing praises to our most amazing God and “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” according to Paul in his letter to the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. So, I know what I am to do… I get it, so why don’t I actually do it? I’ve concluded that it takes a lifetime to train and reinforce the delicate, but definite connection between my head and my heart. But how?? I need help, because I believe that we will never fully come to know the true power of unconditional praise until we learn of its value in our trails.
In researching the background of the Psalms for this post, it made more sense knowing that the people referred to in the reading had just been saved from the King of Assyria. In Psalm 75:1, 9, the Psalmist is expressing the thankfulness to God for what He had done. Psalm 76 offers another example of a ‘good’ outcome after God destroyed the enemy by “…breaking the enemy’s weapons” (Psalm 76:3). But, would they have been thanking God is the outcome of their encounter with the King of Assyria been different? In Psalm 77, it is clear that the Psalmist is writing from a place of deep questioning and disappointment… that God had “forgotten to be gracious to them” (Psalm 77:9) as the outcome is not what they thought it should be.
This is one of the difficult lessons that I continue to work on… that I don’t have the kind of faith I should have to praise God in all things, especially when to my eye, the event or circumstances appear dismal, dark, or disappointing. I make that mistake often, it seems… it isn’t natural for me to associate disappointment, (*my* disappointment!), with anything potentially good.. I mean, after all… it certainly doesn’t feel good! Before becoming a Christian, it never occurred to me that there was a much deeper, more meaningful lesson going on that I just didn’t get… YET! But I’m not alone… there’s hints of the essence of Psalm 77 to the Book of Habakkuk, where Habakkuk wrote to the Jews that “…there must be faith”, especially during times of limited understanding of why God doesn’t offer assistance… that we must remain faithful that one day our God will send help… but, in His time.
When circumstances in our lives appear to be insurmountable, we can either choose to fall deeper into despair and self-pity, or we can rise above the circumstances and look up, rejoicing in our Lord and Savior, believing at that crucial moment that His love and mercy are real, He is faithful, and He has His own way of using circumstances to ultimately express His love for us and His grace to us. On the surface, it may appear to be easier for us to choose to blame others and become angry at God. But as followers of Christ, we’re called to go deeper… to turn to the One who is capable of turning deep sorrow into indescribable joy! And, while many cannot see ourselves as anything but a mistake in God’s kingdom, despite Jesus’ promise of unconditional love, He alone is the one who will bring us through to greener pastures when the time is right. All He asks is for us to trust Him with everything… this is what we are called to do as believers in the goodness and grace of Almighty God. Very much what we are commanded to do in Romans 6:11… “…count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Are you having a hard time finding a reason to rejoice our amazing God today in your circumstances? Here’s an idea… thank God for not only for what wonderful things He has planned moving forward, but also the lesson(s) to be learned in existing circumstances. While it may be true that we know ourselves better than anyone else, we certainly don’t know ourselves better than our Creator who designed us!
Heavenly Father, we know You love us always, but to our limited minds, when things don’t go as we think they should go, we question You and Your promises to us because we get confused, disappointed, and frustrated. Please help us to bridge the gap between our heads and our hearts so we can see You in all circumstances and know that You are in control, regardless of what it looks like to us and we become consumed with the circumstances and not the Creator of our lives. Please help us to remember that You are God and please forgive us when we don’t trust in you for all things in every situation. Amen!