Sacrificial Gratitude

One thing I desire of the LORD, this I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple…I would have lost heart except I believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living {Psalm 27:4 & 13}

It wasn’t the first time.  As I sat in silence before the Lord, I knew I was in His presence but literally no thoughts or words would fill my mind much less have a hope of making an utterance on my lips.  This happened day after day for 3 months.  I would enter into His presence to communicate with Him & it was as if only a black empty space filled my heart & head.   I could see Him & feel His presence, at arm’s length away, but I couldn’t get to Him. 

I didn’t blame God for what had happened but I was literally overcome by such deep sorrow that I couldn’t say any words to Him.  I knew He was there but I couldn’t quite figure out how to get curled up in His arms for comfort.  Then one day, just at the end of this 3-month stretch of pain, I heard someone giving a detailed description of Heaven & I realized in the midst of all my heartache I could be thankful for eternity in Heaven.  So I went to the Father & I said thank You for giving me the promise of Heaven.  That was it.  That’s all my prayer consisted of.  But I did it again the next day & the next & the next. 

And after several days of compulsory gratitude a shift began in my heart.  I no longer felt completely isolated from Him & my focus on His goodness, even in the middle of my circumstance, changed my perspective.  I began to receive a peace & the ability to look at what was going on in my life through God’s perspective.  Though I still didn’t like what I was facing, my communication with my Father was opened & once again held the intimacy that I had known before. 

As my perspective began to change, I realized 3 things:

Gratitude isn’t in my circumstance, it’s in me.

Just because I don’t feel like giving thanks doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be thankful for.  As a child of the One true King, I always have what He did on the cross & the promise of Heaven to focus my gratitude upon.  Jesus’ salvation gives me full access to amazing love & power upon which I can rest my gratitude.  {Romans 8:38-39}

In order for me to get to Him, I must look at Him.

When I went before Him to pray, I wasn’t focused on Him.   I was focused on my circumstance, which had me blinded to find His embrace for comfort.  He was still there & actually He was still holding me, but I was resisting by not being fully present in His presence.  All I had to do was to look at Him in order to feel His grace. {Psalm 34:8, 18}

Praising Him is a sacrifice that is worth the cost.

We cannot praise God with a praise that can be purchased.  Our praise must come from deep within & at times requires all the strength & courage we can muster. Hebrews tells us to offer sacrifices of praise to God.  There is no sacrifice so great as when our hearts are burdened.  When praise & gratitude is the farthest thing from my heart & mind, the sacrifice of praise places glory where it belongs & God is pleased in my sacrificial act of worship. {Hebrews 13:15-16}

 

What can you thank Him for today?  What sacrifice of praise can you offer Jesus who offered you everything on the cross & in His resurrection?


Love, Cara