by Sarah B.
from Virtuous Daughters, November 2011~Volume 11, Number 8
With fervor, the young lady scrubbed the dirty dinner pot. She was growing frustrated with the seemingly enormous stack of dishes that awaited her attention, for she wanted to finish a sewing project after kitchen duties were completed. Her siblings had vanished after the meal was over, leaving her alone to clean up. Sharon inwardly grumbled in self-pity, when her thoughts were shocked to silence when her mom walked in the kitchen with a sober face. Her announcement was startling.
“You remember Robert from church? Late last night he was in a terrible accident...” Immediately, Sharon's thoughts left her pile of chores and raced with questions and fear. “He was killed by on on-coming truck on the highway.” Sharon dropped her dish and stared at her mother in complete astonishment and horror. What about his young wife? How would she bear this shock? How would she raise up their little daughter, let alone bring forth a baby in a few short months alone? Her thoughts whirled. Robert, a strong Christian man in their church, had married a dear girl only his own age two years prior. Together they led a happy life and dreamed of raising many children in their country home. Eyes filling with tears, Sharon thought of the young widow. Here I have been complaining over a few small inconveniences, while this young lady is suffering the dashing of dreams, future, and a dear husband.
Have you ever been caught with an ungrateful attitude? Do you ever find yourself looking at your circumstances rather than to Jesus Christ? I have found myself complaining various times lately, only to be sharply reminded of all the blessings God has placed in my life by very sobering events. I have humbly wondered, Why did the Lord see fit to send these trials to others and not me? I stand here complaining over trivial hardships...Father please forgive me! Thank you for your mercy! God has used these tragedies to chasten my heart and to bring me where I should always be: evermore rejoicing. Who am I to complain?
How trivial in comparison are the daily inconveniences and trials I complain about, compared to anything Christ faced on my behalf. When I take my eyes off fleeting circumstances and look instead to the blessings of Christ, I have much to thank my Father for: the privilege to be a child of God (Galatians 4:7), the gifts God has bestowed upon me physically, as well as spiritually (Psalm 68:19, 116:12). Who can cease to utter the praises of One who redeemed us from hell, from hard-hearted rebellion to a precious Savior, and Who has created an incredibly beautiful habitat for human life? “Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified” (Psalm 70:4). In her book, The God of All Comfort, Hannah Whitall Smith says that although we usually complain against inconveniences, we are in actuality committing sin against a holy and merciful God. “Instead of thanking Him we complain against Him, although we generally direct our complaints, not against the divine Physician Himself who has ordered our medicine, but against the ‘bottle’ in which He has sent it.”
In the parable of the ten lepers, how many of them were thankful for their healing by Christ (Luke 17)? Exactly one returned and worshiped the Lord Jesus. Will we choose to be that “one” and thank Jesus daily, all the time, for His eternal healing to our sin-worn and corrupt bodies?
Psalm 119:164 says, “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.” One morning I was carefully reading this passage, and thought how often seven times a day is. Isn’t it important enough to praise the Lord seven times (and more) daily for His righteous law and blessings? Each morning, I like to make a list of at least seven things God has bestowed upon me in my prayer journal. It certainly helps me keep my eyes open for the blessings of life!
The key to thankfulness is stopping ungrateful, discontent thoughts right at the threshold of our mind—give NO admission! The Word of God is overflowing with commands of the righteous and the words which should be their fruit. “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable” (Proverbs 10:32). “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
Instead of despairing about the stack of dirty dishes late at night, thank the Lord for the blessing of wonderful, nutritious food to enjoy in your cozy home. Rather than becoming discouraged because of the disruptions you might receive, praise the Lord for the blessing of family. This choice to thank the Lord with our lips (thoughts) is the beginning of maintaining a thankful, joyous spirit. Begin by simple obedience to Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Read that verse with the freshness of a first reading—we are not to become overwhelmed by cares, but to go to the Lord in prayer and then rest in thankfulness!
“Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright” (Psalm 33:1). This is my challenge for you, dear sister. It is not only a good idea, but it is also God's command (Hab. 3:18 , Zeph. 3:14, Zech. 4:10, Matt. 5:12, 1 Thess. 5:16, Rev. 19:7). Look to the One who submitted to the will of His Father and bore all without an utterance of complaint. Our God is worthy!
“We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.” (Revelation 11:17)
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