The Pick Ax of Praise
Thanking God for blessings is child's play compared to what is actually set before us as the answer to life's hardest problems. What do you do when you are reeling from the blows of adversity and emotional pain? How can you get your peace back when the same situation keeps robbing it from you? What if you can't get away from problem people no matter how you try?
The Word of the Lord tells us to do something that goes completely against the grain. Everybody probably balks at this one the first time they hear it. Many probably still don't do it no matter how many times they've heard it. Before we hear it, let's remember that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He tells us the truth about the right way to live so that we can find His kind of life and find it in abundance.[i] That's why He gives us these two daunting commands: the Bible says to thank God in all things and for all things (see the Scripture section).
Why should we do such a seemingly crazy thing? First, it reminds us that God is not to blame; He is actually on our side. Our Father does not cause evil, but He can overturn it, bringing a greater blessing out of it than any evil the enemy put into it in the first place.[ii]
Thanking God vigorously in the midst of a situation that we hate or fear, radically shifts our perspective and liberates our heart by restoring us to a wholesome sense of God's sovereignty over the adversity we are facing. This gets our focus off events and people and puts it right back on God where it needs to be. Thanking God, reminds us that Our Father loves us even when things aren't going as we would like. Things may not be good, but Our Father is still supremely good and is working for our good. It takes a firm resolution to learn how to swing the pick ax of praise, but for those who do, fountains of living water are released!
Consider these levels:
1) Beginner: Thanking God in good times for good things;
2) Intermediate: Thanking God in bad times for good things;
3) Veteran: Thanking God in bad times for bad things.
It may not make sense (at first), but it works!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is... giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:17, 20 ESV
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15 ESV
Thank You Father that You want to help me learn to swing this pick ax of praise. So here I go with this thing that I have hated and feared: ________. Thank You that it was not Your will or desire that caused it. Thank You that You have grieved with me. Thank You that You haven't been angry with me over all the bad attitudes and acting out I've done because of it. Thank You that You have redemptive purposes that will be worth the pain of this passage. Thank You that this is being steered in a good direction. Thank You that it is teaching me to walk by faith in what I can't see. Thank You that the pain and the problem won't last forever--only Your love will have the final word!
[i] John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
[ii] Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Next Illustrated Insight
Illustrating the choice between listening to the enemy's accusations or God's mercy.
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