The actual sitting before the Lord and declaring all that He has done for oneself in praise and thanksgiving is a cleansing and redemptive practice. One of my most favorite scenes in the Bible is the time after David the king had found rest from his enemies and began to contemplate building a house for the Lord (2 Samuel 7). David’s heart was right, according to the prophet Nathan, but God had other plans. While God communicated His plans for David through the prophet, God also pronounced a blessing on David’s future heirs, from whom the Christ child would come. This was an overwhelming experience for David, and he went and sat before God in the temple in awe and reverence. It is quite a tender and poignant picture.
I have often referred back to this picture and story when thinking of my own life. “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18 NLT). This is still for me a humbling thing, to think of my salvation in college, and the Lord’s guiding hand throughout my life, in giving me my beautiful wife and children, and so many marvelous opportunities and blessings. I just feel life David must have felt, stationary and still, caught up in the awesome knowledge of being loved when we are so undeserving.
So today I express my love and thanks to God for all that He is and has done for me and my family. This truly is redemptive for me, in the sense that I confess the times when I did not consider God worthy enough to let Him do what He chose and perhaps instead took things into my own feeble hands. I also ask forgiveness for not trusting God through the difficult times, forgetting that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28 NLT).”
Mitch Land is new here at Regent University, as am I. A few weeks ago in a series of devotionals written for a season of worship and repentance, Mitch wrote a short devotional about a tragedy which occurred in his life. It was a moving piece, and Mitch was actually asked by friends at Virginia Tech to develop the story more completely to make it available to family after the tragic shootings which occurred on the VT campus. Below is a more extended version of the story: http://www.leaderu.com/common/terror/failure.html.
Can someone actually be thankful when suffering the loss of a child? My friend Mitch writes that trust in the greater judgment of God is required to find release from bitterness and to truly return to thanking God for all that He is and has done. If we can leave the planning and execution to the the same Almighty God who created the universe, how can we not find solace and freedom from fear in His tender arms of love? If we can trust that "God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28 NLT)” perhaps then at some point we can experience redemption and agree with the Apostle Paul who writes: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT).”
May the blessings that are yours through Jesus Christ be made evident to you in this season, and may the full knowledge of these things cause you to respond to God’s redemptive work with joy and thanksgiving!