Monday, March 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 19

Prayers of Thanks continued...

There are times when being thankful toward God is a difficult endeavor. There are seasons in our lives when we go through trials and adversities, wherein being thankful is the last thing on our mind.

In my opinion, no man endured greater adversity and heartbreak than Job. Here was a man whom the word identifies as the greatest of all the people of the East, a man who lacked for nothing by way of the material, a man who had sheep, and camels, and oxen and donkeys and a very large household, who systematically loses it all.

In the blink of an eye, everything was gone. Gone were the possessions, gone were his livestock, gone were his sons and his daughters, gone was his health and the respect of his spouse, yet Job has the presence of mind and strength of character to say, ‘the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’

Job 1:20-22, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell to the ground and worshipped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

When we consider the fact that the Bible characterizes Job as a man blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil, we come to realize what it must have taken for Job to look upon all those who had perished and all that he had lost, and not charge God with wrong.

Today men half as blameless and upright before God as Job, who go through a tenth of what he went through shake their fists in the air, charging God with wrong, and accusing Him of judging unfairly. Never mind thanking God for our adversities, when things don’t work out the way we expected them, it’s all some can do not to turn their backs on God altogether.

Such reactions not only speak to the condition of our hearts, they also reveal the fact that we do not know God as we ought. It is God’s privilege and right to do as He desires with that which is His. He gives, but when He so chooses it is His right to likewise take away, and as faithful servants of Christ we must be as thankful when He takes away as when He gives.

Some things are easier said than done however, and being thankful in our moments of adversity is one of those things.

If we come before God with prayers of thanks in our hardships, if we can be as resolute in our faith concerning the nature of our God as Job was, our thanks will not be in vain or futile. Just as God took away from Job, He gave to him once more, not merely replacing what he had lost, but giving him double.

Job 42:10, “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

We have more reasons than Job to be thankful, because through the scriptures God has made it known to us that all things work together for good for those who love Him. This is not hyperbole, it is not exaggeration, it is not some quaint saying we’re prone to repeat when trials abound and times are hard, it is the infallible unchanging promise of God. Believe God at His word and in you adversity give thanks to Him for His plan and purpose.

Each time we are confronted with adversity we have the choice between thanking God, and murmuring against Him. Seeing as those that murmured against God have consistently been rebuked and reprimanded by Him, one would readily conclude that thanking Him would be the avenue best pursued.

As temporal creations, limited in our understanding we often fail to see the purpose of any given situation, why it is happening, and why God allowed it. All we know is that we’re going through it, and it’s hard, and it’s heartbreaking, and it’s discouraging, but by faith we see that we will get through it, and at the end of the journey we will see the purpose of it.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

We do not lose heart, for we know that the inward man is being renewed day by day. We do not lose heart, for we know that our light affliction is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

As soon as we pry our eyes away from the temporary, as soon as we pry our eyes away from this earth and its cloying charms, as soon as we turn our eyes upon Jesus, as soon as we acknowledge all that He has done for us, we can’t help but fall to our knees in prayers of thanks and appreciation.

God has done exceedingly and beyond what we deserve for every one of us; His grace has saved us from darkness and death; His love has carried us through seasons of despair; His faithfulness has persevered through our bouts of faithlessness, He sent the Christ that we might be reconciled unto Him, and for all these things, plus many more He is worthy of our thanks, and the adoration of our hearts.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

So very timely, again. Thank you. Thankfulness. Gratitude. Appreciation. Blessings -- such Joy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you once again. I began saying 'thank you' to God in prayers and praises for things He has done, that which He intends to do and for my heart desires. I thank Him for the fresh air, the beautiful scenery I can see from my window etc. It has been an amazing experience.I feel lighter,less or no worries, I feel renewed. I desire to get to the point where thoughts in my head are always about God especially after I read, 'pray without ceasing'.