There are times, even during my favorite time of year (around November 1 through January 6), when I have all I can do to hold it together emotionally. I know how important it is to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in every circumstance. Yet the picture comes to mind of a soul out of breath, and out of energy entirely, exhausted, dutifully climbing up some impossible and treacherous hill one more time. Yet he does not know why he is obliged to do so, and is weary beyond belief at this seemingly meaningless task. Yet here it is. And here am I. That soul depicted in imagination symbolizes me!
At such times I must cling to this: “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23 NASB). All I can do in such moments – those moments which teach me what a sacrifice of thanksgiving really means – is to rely on His promise which is attached to this verse – that it is through this that we actually come to “see” salvation.
It may be that some hidden stronghold of the flesh is being consumed by the divine fire of Grace through the Holy Spirit. That’s what animal flesh does when it is sacrificed. It is consumed with fervent heat. And this is why it must be divinely accomplished by Grace. We do not comprehend what is being done, yet we are aware that it is being done.
At such moments we become keenly aware that we have nothing to offer God – except the needy bag of impossibility and complexity that we have become in our fallen state. Yes, “just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me” becomes the theme. Even when we have walked with the Lord for many years, the work of being restored as a son of God brings us to moments of fiery Grace – where the fire of Divine Love must once again do its work! And there’s nothing for it but to surrender ourselves to it, “show up for work”. Not yours. His! And “burn, burn, burn, like a ring of fire!
It’s easy to rejoice and offer thanks when things are going my way. But what about when they aren’t? It’s so much more tempting to go into “cuss and fuss” mode than it is to even inwardly (if I cannot manage it verbally) say, “I don’t know what You are up to or why You call upon me to pass through this route. But by faith I acknowledge that Your Good is driving all Your work within me, and I will offer You a sacrifice of praise – in spite of my feelings – to acknowledge that my Heavenly Father knows best, and I acknowledge that Your plans for me are plans for my wellbeing and not for disaster, to give me a future and a hope.” (See Jeremiah 29:11)
For this truth I give thanks!
P. S. At times like these, when we’re “weary, feelin’ small, when tears are in your eyes” … the Holy Spirit comes in on the wings of a song like this one, a Bridge Over Troubled Water. Even when He seems to take us apart, at the end of the day He “takes our part”.
Originally published on my website: