Monday, August 24, 2009

The Highest Expression of Faith

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1Thessalonians 5:18).

Perhaps you may be thinking, "In everything gives thanks? Are you crazy!? Some things are just too awful; how can I give thanks for everything?" Wait just a minute before you blow your gasket -- he did not say give thanks FOR everything....but IN everything. There is a difference.

Shall we thank God in the good and happy times only, and then question Him, or worse yet -- curse Him -- when bad and awful times befall us? Of course not! The Bible says IN everything give thanks -- for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. In other words, God wants us to trust Him even when things look completely hopeless. Indeed, to tust Him so much that even then we give thanks.

Thanksgiving is the highest expression of faith that exists, for it acknowledges the hand of God at work in everything -- even in the midst of things that are awful.

Faith looks past the obvious and see the actual; it goes beyond what is seen, and sees Him who is invisible working all things after the counsel of His will. Our difficulty comes from the fact that we tend to judge things from our limited perspective. God wants to lift our vision to a higher and broader place, where we may see things as He sees them.

Once this happens -- everything changes. We no longer gripe and complain, but rather give thanks. Our hearts are un-ncumbered with the cares of this world, our minds are free from anxiety and stress, and our conversation is filled with life and healing.

The words of Frances R. Havergal (1879) sum it up best --

Light after darkness; gain after loss.
Strength after weakness; crown after cross.
Sweet after bitter; hope after fears.
Home after wandering; praise after tears.
Sheaves after sowing; sun after rain.
Sight after mystery; peace after pain.
Joy after sorrow; calm after blast.
Rest after weariness; sweet rest at last.
Near after distant; gleam after gloom.
Love after loneliness; life after tomb.
After long agony, rapture of bliss –
Right was the pathway leading to this!

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