I was reading about the ten men Jesus healed of leprosy and how only one man came back to thank him. Like me, you might have heard this story too many times to count.
Also like me, you probably remember to thank God for many of your answered prayers. I think, though, that my thank yous are not always as plentiful as my requests.
But this morning, my thoughts traveled to my unanswered prayers. I have a very scary situation in my life right now. Do you have one of those? Without the answers and intervention that only God can give…there will be more ongoing pain than there has already been.
But…hear me now…without seeing any evidence that things are going to be okay, we can be Thankful By Faith. Huh?
If I am praying for something crucial, I can choose to live in fear that it won’t be answered in a way that will keep us from more (possibly long term) heartache. I have experienced enough of life to know that prayers aren’t always answered in the way (or timeline) that seem most reasonable and the least painful. So the weeks or months (years?) that I wait for answers, I will live in an extra layer of pain that is fostered by my own fear.
Or…I can be Thankful by Faith! If I analyze my problem, the solution, my prayers and where God fits in, it looks like this: This is an excruciating, potentially life altering situation. (Do you have one like that?) It promises heartache now and in the future if it isn’t fixed. But…I have prayed asking for the intervention of God. And…my true knowledge of the situation is very limited. Yet…God’s knowledge is infinite. His timing and His solutions are perfect. So… when the person or the situation is not fixed in what I see as a timely manner…or maybe it is never fixed…I can be Thankful By Faith.
I can (you can) hang on to the fact that my situation is part of a much larger story that I cannot and probably will not ever fully see or understand. I know that He promises to be with me, to work through me and in me. He promises that He is at work on my behalf as I pray and develop my relationship with Him. He will not force me, or those around me to lean into His purposes. But as I do, whether others do or not, He is ever working on my behalf.
In a very broken world, where people around us have choice and sometimes can cause us significant pain in the present and terrible dread about the future…we have choices too. We have the choice to pray but also to trust. Part of the key to being able to trust (and experience a good measure of peace that is beyond understanding) is choosing to be…Thankful By Faith!
Philippians 4:4-7 (HCSB) 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.