Earlier I wrote a post on how God asks us to give thanks in ALL circumstances, and how giving thanks sometimes hurts when life is hard. (Read that blog post HERE.) I was also working on creating a Thanksgiving devotional for my email subscribers, so I was looking up all sorts of verses about giving thanks when I came across this one:
“I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.”Psalm 116:17
Have you ever thought of your thanksgiving being a sacrifice?
Yeah, me neither.
Now, in context this verse is simply referring to a type of sacrifice that they would offer as a way to praise God for his goodness and care for them.
But I just couldn’t let the phrase “sacrifice of thanksgiving” go.
See a sacrifice always costs us something. It is something we have to go out of our way to do. In the OT they had to buy the grain, flour, or animal. Then they had to take it to the priest to offer it to God. It cost them money and time.
I am no scholar or theologian, but the bible does often call us to sacrifice ourselves. We are called to sacrifice our bodies (Romans 12:1), pick up our cross and follow Jesus (Matthew 10:38), and to do good and share with others as a sacrifice that pleases God (Hebrews 13:16). And the verse before that in Hebrews 13:15 says, “Therefore let us offer through Jesus, a continual sacrifice of praise to God.”
So, I started thinking, what if God is asking us to praise and thank Him even when it is a sacrifice to do so? Even when it costs us something? And maybe the cost is simply choosing to be grateful when life isn’t so good. Or learning to praise Him through our tears.
Why would God ask us to praise and thank Him through our tears and heartache?
I know that God says He loves me. And I know that He says that He knows the plans He has for me. He also says that I need to trust Him and live by faith. So, could it be that He knows that there is something for me in that dark place?
When you are lost in the darkest night, God’s promises are the stars that light the way.Tweet
Praising God for who He is and thanking Him for all He has done is what ignites hope in our souls. Remembering His promises lights up our dark days. It is a choice we make to lead our hearts back to the One who knows all. It is choosing to trust Him, lean on Him, and follow Him even when life is hard.
And yet it is in those moments I also find that God wraps His arms around me and comforts me with His words. He speaks to me through songs and reminds me of His promises. He whispers loving words over me that soothe my aching heart. It is in those moments that I grow closer to God.
It is like when you go on a hike with a friend. You are hanging out and enjoying each others company. But when you hurt your ankle and your friend has to carry you to safety, that is when you are the closest that you have ever been. And you are grateful for their presence and care for you.
“Pain, if we let it, can lead us into deeper intimacy with Christ. Is there anything more deserving of our gratitude?” -Kelli B. TrujilloTweet
I still find it hard to be thankful. I still wish the difficulties would pass. But I am learning how to see that pain can draw me closer to God, if I let it. And those sweet, deep moments with Him are worth the sacrifice it takes to speak praise and thanks in the midst of my dark nights.
“My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in that grace.”1 Peter 5:12b
Dear Sweet Jesus,
You know how it feels to suffer, to be alone, and to feel the pain of this world. You have been there, You are with us in this moment, and You know what lies ahead. Help us to stand firm in your grace. Remind us that your promises are like stars shining a light of hope into the dark. Remind us that our faith in You will give us shelter from the storms of life. And remind us that Your love for us is strong enough to carry us to safety. May we grow closer to You as we choose to give praise and thanks to You even when it hurts. Amen.
“In the darkest times of your life, your praise to God should be the loudest. Let the enemy know you’re not afraid of the dark.” -Toby MacTweet
When life is hard, I find that music really helps me. These songs help me to recognize the hard season I am in, and then turn my mourning into praise. Do you have any go-to songs for when life is hard? I could always use more to add to my list!
Click HERE to listen to my “Desperate” playlist!
- “Beauty from Pain” by Superchick
- “Need You Now (How Many Times)” by Plumb
- “God Help Me” by Plumb
- “Even If” by MercyMe
- “Even Then” by Micah Tyler
- “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson
- “Trust In You” by Lauren Daigle
- “Hold Me Jesus” by Big Daddy Weave
- “It Is Well” by Bethel Music
- “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle
- “If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens
- “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North
- “Crawl (Carry Me Through)” by Superchick
- “Blessings” by Laura Story
- “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel Music
- “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns
- “Losing” by Tenth Avenue North
- “God Bless This Mess” by Jillian Jacqueline
- “Brother” by NEEDTOBREATHE
- “Bridges Burn” by NEEDTOBREATHE
- “Broken Hallelujah” by The Afters
*The upcoming holiday season can be hard on a lot of people for many different reasons. Let’s go out of our way to be kind and loving to others around us. You never know who is having a rough day and just pasting a smile on their face. They may be carrying their burden well, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy. If you are going through a hard season right now and would like prayer please either comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All prayer requests are kept confidential.