The last thing we want to do when things are going bad is thank God. We plead, we ask for help, we complain, but we don't typically give thanks.
That's why scriptures refer to the sacrifice of praise. "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name" (Hebrews 13:15). Isaiah says, He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God" (Psalm 50:23). When we sacrifice thank offerings, we prepare the way for God's salvation. Amazing!
The only way to give thanks and praise in bad times is to intentionally shift focus. We look away from terror to Truth, from fear to Faithfulness, and we change. Not only do we find strength to persevere (see Hebrews 12), but we experience an other worldly peace that keeps our hearts and minds focused on what is true and lovely (Philippians 4:6-8)--a far cry from anxiety.
It's not Pollyanna thinking. We have to admit our challenges before Jesus our Intercessor. But as we start looking for things for which to give thanks, the Holy Spirit cleans our lenses and adjusts their focus. We become more aware that God's power and love far surpass our needs. Soon we learn to see the Almighty's hand in our lives even after we've shrunk back from some of the ugly gift wrapping.
This rediscovery (that we can trust God) prepares us to lay down worry and fear. It deactivates our default complaint button. The sacrifice of thanks and praise accustoms our eyes to behold our Savior in grander dimensions, including ones that speak to our needs.
While it's not easy or natural, sacrificing thank offerings honors God. It lays out the red carpet for Jesus, our Savior, to show us the stuff of His salvation.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Is there a situation in your life that is dragging your attention away from Christ and diminishing your sense of God's great care and presence? How might your sacrifice of thanksgiving impact your well being?
What aspect of God's salvation in your life is God revealing?
Thank God anew for a time when your sacrifice of praise refocused you on God's presence and perspective.