Last week was tough. As the days progressed, I didn’t get enough sleep to deal with the challenges that came my way. My thinking spiraled into the negative. A hard week, a dark year, and nothing good to look forward to next year. The present and the future appear gloomy. Perspective is important, and God helped me gain a better vantage point in an unexpected way. It is easy to forget His faithfulness if we aren’t looking for it.
My parents came to visit my sister and me at the end of last week. They brought with them, Toby, the standard poodle who joined the family in May. Toby is my bright spot in a dismal year. My parents hadn’t visited us in two years. The last time, they brought Quigley, the old poodle we said goodbye to, early this year. During that last visit, my mother and I did all of the dog walking. My father has a degenerative back problem and, at that time, he couldn’t stand or walk for long. Two years later, he was the primary dog-walker during their visit. How I had pleaded with God over my father’s pain and physical deterioration! His body is not perfectly healed, but it is miraculous that he is doing better rather than worse. This was a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness.
I have told the glad news of deliverancePsalms 40:9-10
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
This week, I set out to write about God’s faithfulness because I feel like we could all use the reminder that God gave me. Part of trusting in God and His faithfulness is telling others about it. Communicating the truth about God’s love and faithfulness isn’t just an evangelistic tool, it is an important way to encourage and build up those who already believe. And, if we undertake thanksgiving as a discipline, and count all of the ways that God has demonstrated His faithfulness to us, even in the midst of trials, our minds are shifted away from the grim prospects of this world to the joy of praising God for all that He has done. Perhaps this week is a good time for us to remember that Thanksgiving isn’t about some general, secular idea of being thankful; it is about offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving to our Creator, who not only created us, but has blessed us with all that we see and have.
Sometimes I feel like my life is empty, but I have so much! I look at my pay statement from yesterday, and then at the Samaritan’s Purse shoe boxes on my living room floor. God is faithful to me. I have so much, and the portion I share to help others never seems like enough. I don’t know how I got to where I am, but my needs have always been provided for. I praise God that while my parents’ health is not perfect, He continues to give me time with them. In His faithfulness, when He takes them home, He will give me the strength I need to praise Him, still. Praise and thanksgiving are synonymous. To God be the glory, in good times and bad. Whatever happens, He has a plan for His glory and “for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28b)
I will praise the name of God with a song;Psalms 69:30-34
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the LORD hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.
On some things, I am a broken record. When times are tough, God takes me back to the testimony of Corrie ten Boom in The Hiding Place. There are few still living who saw or experienced the evil of the Nazis. I cannot imagine my country being invaded by a malicious regime and then finding myself imprisoned because I had the courage to save lives. The ten Boom family faced that situation with courage and faith; surely we can face the challenges facing us today in our nation and our lives. Followers of Christ should not live in gloom and despair. God wants us to live with confidence and joy.
For this reason, I want to invite everyone who calls on the name of Jesus Christ as their Savior, to praise God with me, this week. I praise the name of Jesus Christ because He died for me and paid the ransom for my life. I praise God for my loving family, my job that more than provides for me, my home, which is better than I asked Him for, and Toby, the poodle, who brings my family joy. I praise Him for the privilege to be part of the lives of four girls in Haiti, through Compassion International. What are you praising God for this week? I’ve never asked for comments before, but this week I am asking. Turn your mind to God’s great faithfulness and share with me and others what He has done for you. If we praise Him together, it is a double-blessing because we encourage ourselves and others.
en·cour·ageWebster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language
to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.