This is NOT a post saluting America’s Thanksgiving Day next month.
This IS a post encouraging you, me–everyone–to live a life of abundant thanks and praise every single day we are alive.
I’m inspired by Psalm 109:30. “With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord; and in the midst of many I will praise Him.” (NASB)
But when we look at the world and all its chaos, how can we praise God?
We’ve endured a pandemic in recent years. We see violence on every side. Police seem helpless. Russia invaded a country minding its own business. Hamas attacked Israeli civilians, and Israel has retaliated. China is licking its chops over Taiwan. Inflation, taxes, crime, personal sorrows… We’re overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed? Or in Prayer?
King David had a lot to say in Psalm 109. He brought his complaint to God. People hated him without cause. They lied about him. He had been a friend to them and they betrayed him.
He pointed to himself. “But I am in prayer.” (verse 4) And he told God how bad life had gotten for him because of those evil people. (verse 21-26)
David’s warrior mindset flamed with explosive petitions regarding his desire for his enemies to enjoy a short life, to receive the same treatment they gave him, and to be judged guilty in courts of law (and God’s court?). He wanted their wives to be widowed, their children to be fatherless and poverty-stricken, and their property plundered. People who called out curses on David deserved to have those same curses fall on them.
Pretty rough stuff.
Should my prayers for Ukraine and Israel contain the same fiery words? David didn’t have New Testament scriptures. He didn’t hear Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
“Turn the other cheek.” Should a nation do nothing when attacked? Should I use a firearm to defend my family or face my enemy with no earthly weapon?
“Forgive us as we have forgiven others.” Should I forgive those who have tortured and raped the innocent? Or do I have a responsibility to remove such monsters from society? Is it possible to do both?
I wrestle with these questions and many others.
You and I may come up with different answers, but we need to return to verse 30. David’s psalm teaches us to pray first. Tell God all about our problems. Then, like David, leave it in God’s hands. No matter what is happening in the world, God is in control. He knows why He has allowed atrocities to happen. He knows how He will bring His Word to fruition.
Which means we can praise Him. The One who is all-knowing, all powerful–we can trust Him.
He is worthy of abundant thanks.