Whenever something bad happens, my knee-jerk reaction is to say, “Why, God?”
I guess it’s only human to feel so vulnerable and to turn to the only One that can actually change situations with a word from His mouth. I also like to think that the knee-jerk reaction of turning to God immediately, even if it’s an angry question, means that God means something to me. This ongoing conversation between us shows that we have a relationship.
Whether it is the good or the bad, God wants to know it all
Got a request that is as huge as a mountain or want to ask something that feels so petty? God is ready to listen. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew chapter 7, verse 7).
Bring your best offerings before the King of Kings but also know that it is okay to bring your broken hearts to the table too. “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for our God is our refuge” (Psalm chapter 6, verse 8).
More often than not, the struggle lies not in bringing the bad before Him. When things are good, we often forget to bring those wonderful days before Him. It is so much easier to complain to Him because there is a desperate need for His hand in situations. It takes greater effort to remember to thank Him and praise Him when things are going well.
Like a lot of things that require practice to become better at something, praising God is the same. Like a muscle that needs to be flexed often to maintain its strength and to grow stronger, we need to thank Him often for it to become second nature to us.
Learning to praise and thank God
One of the best ways to learn to praise and thank God is to read our Bibles. It is filled with verses that glorify Him. Here are a few:
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High” (Psalm chapter 7, verse 17).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians chapter 4, verses 6-7).
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verses 16-18).
Just opening your Bible and meditating on one of the many verses that expresses our gratitude to Him can change our hearts. Praising Him softens hearts that have become hardened by the hardships of this world. Thanking Him changes our perspective of situations and the circumstances that we are in.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to make a list of 365 things I am grateful for. One for each day of the year. Obviously, there can be so many things we are thankful for each day. But I chose one for each day to post on social media. The idea was not only for me to pause and reflect at the end of each day. I wanted to encourage my family and friends to do the same. The response has been amazing and I have been so blessed by those who have reached out to me to share their thoughts and experiences.
Most days, it was easy finding the highlight of the day. There were days I found myself struggling. It was those days that I had to dig deep to find that tiny bit in me that would still whisper, “God is good.”
While it may seem hard or uncomfortable to make this second nature at first, it can become a habit if we try. Praising and thanking God should be an instinctive reflex for every follower of Christ.