How to have Gratitude {even when it's a sacrifice}

There was a time in my life when day after day, for 3 full months, I would enter the presence of God in an attempt to communicate with Him but each time the outcome was not what I had hoped for.  Even though I knew I was in His presence, I would sit in silence & the weight of black empty space would fill my heart & my head.  I could see God & even feel Him in the room, but it was as though His embrace was just out of reach.

The reason for my longing but seeming unreach, wasn't God's fault.  It was the deep sorrow that overtook every part of my being & had somehow even taken hold of my tongue, muting my prayers.  

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, if nothing else, I could be thankful for an eternal home in Heaven.  So the next morning, 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 & again for several days. 

Without warning, a compulsory gratitude 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 His 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 through the cross & in His resurrection?


Love,
Cara


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