by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
It’s daylight savings time! Tell the truth, how many of you grumbled and complained about your lost hour of sleep? It’s amazing how the slightest inconvenience makes us act like we’ve been asked to donate a kidney. We really like to complain.
There is a scripture in 1 Thessalonians that tells us to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you.” As Christians, we talk about wanting to discover God’s will for our lives, but we ignore this verse. Yet it clearly says God’s will is for us to remain in a posture of prayer, with daily rejoicing and thanksgiving in all circumstances. Including daylight savings time. Including the loss of financial stability. Including the loss of someone we love.
I just lost my Dad, but this verse tells me to be thankful. It takes an extreme amount of trust to be grateful in a season of pain. Why would God ask this of me? I know God is not a sadist, He’s my loving Father. So if He’s asking this of me, it’s because it’s for my good. It’s for your good. There is power in these actions. Prayer, praise, and thanksgiving are not only attitudes of trust in an always loving God, but they are also our weapons of warfare.
When I need to do battle against the overwhelming sadness of losing Dad, I put on some praise music and start thanking God for His goodness and faithfulness. In this case, it doesn’t change my circumstance, but it changes me in the circumstance. That’s always a plus. But sometimes, praise changes everything.
There is a story in the Bible about a King named Jehoshaphat that had battalions from 5 different countries coming to slaughter him. Israel was utterly outnumbered and didn’t stand a chance. Jehoshaphat sought the Lord in prayer, then sent his choir, in full choir attire, to the front line. They marched to the battle-line, singing, “God, you are good, and your mercy endures forever.” When the enemy heard their praising and thanking God, they got confused and turned on each other. The King won the battle, and they plundered the enemy without a single weapon other than their prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.
Scriptures talk about God inhabiting the praises of His people. Nowhere does it say He inhabits our complaining. When we complain, we get the payoff of attention from people. When we praise and give thanks, we get the attention of God. I know which one I want by my side when I fight my battles. Besides, He deserves our gratitude for all of the amazing things we have in our lives.
I saw a sign the other day that read, “What if we wake up tomorrow with only the things we thanked God for today?” If that came true, I believe most of us would have to wake up to a new minimalist existence. We take so much for granted. And we have this crazy belief that we need to feel grateful to act grateful. But as my pastor, Jason Forby, says, in the world, people praise because they have joy. But in the Kingdom, we worship to obtain joy.
Are you in a hard season? Talk to God about how good He is throughout your day. Look at that, you are praying without ceasing! Then, put on some praise music (Bethel Worship is my personal favorite) and start thanking God. Now you are fighting your battle with style, and you will feel your mulligrubs magically melt away.