Getting a cancer diagnosis a week on the heels of being served divorce papers is a pretty bad day.
Every morning after, my friend said she woke up with the weight of all the emotions and decisions sitting on her chest, she could scarcely take in a full breath. I could give you the laundry list of all the things that went seemingly wrong in the months to follow, including getting in a car accident, but she didn’t dwell on them, so I won’t either. She chose to dwell on joy.
Daily she prayed and sprayed herself with joy, which did not repel the circumstances from unfolding but kept the negative emotions from landing and stinging. She chose to be confident in God’s promises, so assured of his character she began to thank him in advance for his provision and healing.
Thanking God in advance changes the posture of prayer from pleading to praise.
You can choose to praise God as Healer or beg while holding your breath to see if He really comes through. You can choose to praise Him as Redeemer or you can plead your case with fingers crossed.
In my own life, we had made the decision to move…again. It hadn’t even been a full year since our last move with 2 middle school aged kids. I will spare the long laundry list of stresses because I was taking a cue from my friend, I was choosing joy.
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
I sought after His character over his solving my crisis. I worshipped with wonder of what He was up to instead of worrying. With anticipation not anxiety. My prayers changed from “please do this and that” to “thank you in advance for this and that”. Faith is praying open handed instead of handing over a to-do list.
- I know you will because you are a trustworthy promise keeper.
- I don’t know when but your timing is perfect and you are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
- I don’t know how but you are wise, powerful and loving.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:18 “We don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”
I felt real peace when I fixed my eyes on Him instead of insisting he fix everything. Even when things felt like they were falling apart, I didn’t.
Paul was on to something, he says in Ephesians 5:20 “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you live with the same attitude of gratitude?
Today is called Good Friday. But it is only called that now, in hindsight, because we know the joys that came from the troubles, Jesus was raised from the dead and lives today.
Let out your held breath. Uncross your fingers. God can be trusted to do what he says he will do because he already did the impossible. He has the power to transform death to life and he makes broken things whole again.
In faith, the caterpillar is thankful he can fly.
When we have eternity in mind, we can thank God in advance because in the end “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4.