1 LORD, I will give thanks to you with all my heart. I will tell about all the wonderful things you have done. 2 I will be glad and full of joy because of you. Most High God, I will sing the praises of your name. – Psalm 9:1-2
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
How good are you at “giving thanks with all your heart”? When life is difficult and challenging, I know I often find this hard! In Psalm 9, David is being persecuted by his enemies (v13), yet he begins this Psalm by giving thanks to God and doing so joyfully. How can David do this in the midst of persecution and abject suffering? The answer comes in verse 1; “I will tell about all the wonderful things you have done.” The way David cultivates a heart of thankfulness is not by focusing on his present circumstances. If he did this, he would, no doubt, find it hard to give thanks. Instead he focuses his heart on the wonderful things God has done. The big things like God’s rescue. David would have looked back and remembered God’s miraculous rescue of Israel through the parting of the Red sea. This wonderful act would have caused David to be joyful. But that’s not all; he would have seen God’s wonderful deeds in the little things as well. For David this would have been God sustaining him through persecution day by day. It would have been God providing him with food to eat. It would have been God’s on-going protection from his enemies. It would have been the comfort of a friend speaking words of encouragement to David in his time of need. God met David’s needs in the small things as well as the big things. Through these things, David cultivated a heart of joyful thanks.
The challenge for us is, like David, we can learn to do the same. When life is difficult, as it has been for many of us lately, we can focus our hearts on the big things God has done. We can look back to God’s miraculous rescue through Jesus’ death and resurrection and we can give thanks and praise. We can look at the big things God is doing now in enabling humanity to produce vaccines and roadmaps out of lockdown. We can also look at our present circumstances and find small things to give thanks for. We can thank God for his provision of shelter, warmth, food, family and friends. We can thank God for his faithfulness in sustaining us day by day through this difficult time. All of us, like David, can learn to have joyful and thankful hearts however challenging our circumstances. As we journey through this season of Lent may we take the opportunity to reflect and give joyful thanks to God for all the wonderful things he has done, and is continuing to do.
Yours in Christ