Dear COA Family,
All of us go through pain and suffering at some time of our lives. Some of us experience them in a greater degree because of sickness, tragedy or the stage of life we are in.
Just recently, I visited a dear sister in her old age. Due to her advanced years, she suffers from constant pain in her neck, legs and heart. Her movements are also severely limited and she has to depend on others for help. Her physical suffering is plain for all to see, especially her family who are pained to witness them up close.
Yet she remains a woman full of joy and faith in the Lord despite her circumstances. She would read her bible daily and set aside a fixed time to be alone for her personal devotion and prayers to the Lord. Her example of continued dependence on the Lord is such an inspiration to her entire family that they would ask her to keep them in her prayers as well.
What is the key difference in her life that makes her life stand out?
I believe it is her heart of overflowing thankfulness to the Lord. She is thankful to the Lord for his mercies and grace to her every day even though she knows she is undeserving of them. And she continues to put her trust in her good Shepherd that he would keep and guide her till the end.
Church, this is also what I believe would make all the difference in our lives as well.
The Lord speaks to us in Psalm 50:23:
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
What then is a sacrifice of thanksgiving that is referred to by the psalmist?
It is this: giving thanks to God even during the difficult times and seasons of our lives.
Many of us find it easy to give thanks when things go well. The good circumstances in our lives easily bring cheer to us and encourage us. We are filled with optimism, hope and love towards God who supplies all that we need and want.
But what if things do not go our way? Or if we encounter a difficult situation, person or ailment? Do we then stop giving thanks and start to complain?
Here is where the Scriptures tell us to offer to the Lord our thanksgiving as a sacrifice. We may not feel like it but we offer it because the Lord is deserving of all thanks and praise. And he has blessed us in a greater way beyond our limited perspective of our own misery.
As we give our thanksgiving to the Lord as a sacrifice and offer it continually, we are glorifying God as fully loving and good. And this draws others around us – especially our loved ones who see our trials – to come and love and trust in God as well.
May we all learn to offer our sacrifice of thanks to God in this season of Advent!