We are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, a special date to pray to God. It is also a date in which we can reflect on all the aspects concerning our lives, both good and bad, to learn from them, and thank God for all the things our hearts feel happy and grateful for.
Why pray to God
It is easy to be happy and grateful in good circumstances, for example, when:
- everything goes well in our lives,
- we manage our daily life without any mishaps,
- we move forward in our jobs,
- our family is healthy,
- we feel we have been blessed
- and nothing compromises our well-being.
With this in mind, I ask you, has it happened to you that you get out of the house on a sunny and beautiful day, breathing fresh air, and thank God for His wonderful creation?
Have you felt fully satisfied, grateful for having everything go well? But how have you felt on other days when the sky was gray and rainy? Have you given God thanks for a day like that, too? Are we grateful to God when it is a rainy day?
Why pray to God during difficulties
How do we feel when things do not go the way we planned? What do we do when we lose our jobs when the doctor tells us we have a terminal illness, when we lose a loved one, or when we have a child who is on drugs? Do we praise God, or do we murmur? What do we do? Are we grateful?
Let us remember what the Word of God says in 1 Thess. 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” In this verse, we have a reflection that is hard for us to process and accept: give God thanks in all circumstances. It is not an easy task. It is not something that comes naturally to human beings. Adversities absorb us, and we feel unhappy and experience setbacks. We do not feel like giving thanks. Many times, we even murmur things against God.
Pray to Good, don’t murmur
Did you know that it is easy for us to murmur that so many times that we do not even notice it? But murmuring is the opposite of giving thanks. Complaints are the opposite of trust. Murmuring against your spouse when the rice he/she made burns or when the food is not ready on time is the opposite of loving acceptance. At that point, are we grateful for having food on our table? Are we grateful for our wife or husband serving food that he/she perhaps has made with dedication? Are we grateful?
The dictionary defines a complaint as an accusation. When lamenting and complaining, the person is accusing God of not managing the details of his/her life well. But, on the contrary, praising releases God’s power into our lives. Therefore, today, we are going to discover three steps that we must take to unleash God’s power in us by being thankful and praising Him.
Acknowledge that God is in control
In order to unleash God’s power in us is to acknowledge that He is in control. But you may wonder, how can I acknowledge that God is in control when pain and suffering overwhelm me? If God is in control, why does He not do something to ease what I have? Why does He not help me solve this problem that keeps me up all night and jeopardizes my health? Why am I still unemployed, in need? It just seems that God has turned His back on me, on my problem.
Pray to God when we have problems
There are two things you can do when you have a problem. The first thing is to acknowledge that God is in control and praise to God by saying: “God, I do not understand what is happening, I have lost everything, all I see is darkness in my life, but, despite the adverse circumstances of life, I know that You know what you are doing and that You are in control.”
The second is: to pull your hair out in despair, having a spirit of criticism and murmuring. You will hurt yourself this ay. When you react this way, when you opt for this negative attitude, you are simply telling God that He does not know how to handle your life, and you will begin to walk down the path of ingratitude.
Nothing that happens escapes God’s knowledge, nothing escapes His will because God is the King of all the Earth. So says Psalm 47:7, “Sing praises to our King, sing praises! Because God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding.” God is the sovereign King of all the Earth. Everything that happens is allowed by the King. He is above all the problems that may exist in the universe.
Pray to God, He is not the perpetrator of the negative things
We need to understand something. God is not the perpetrator of the negative things that happen in your life. He is not the originator of the death and pain you might be experiencing right now. God loves us, He wants our well-being, He works for our happiness. You must understand the context of the world in which you live.
What is the origin of the suffering
You live in a sinful world. Our first parents had the opportunity to live eternally happy, but they decided to sell everything good and delicious that God had given them for their well-being by eating the forbidden fruit God had instructed them not to eat. God had told them that they would die the day they ate the forbidden fruit. We know the rest of the story.
Adam and Eve disobeyed, and sin entered this world and therefore eternal death. Today we receive the results, as an outcome of the carelessness our first parents displayed.
The effects of the sin
Reflecting on their disobedience and its effects on the world, we can say that the problems that overwhelm us today come from three sources.
- The first of these sources is the sin of a world that is mortally wounded.
- The second one, the sinful actions of people who are close to us, around us.
- Thirdly, sin that exists in us, that leads us to make mistakes and sinful acts.
We are surrounded by sin and under its influence. God is in control, and He has the last word against sin in this world. He tells us: there is pain, death, and misery, but one day, not that far, I will give you eternal life.
We have this salvation in the midst of this world that is sinking into a sea of problems, complications, situations that make us feel sad and miserable. We have a God in happiness in the midst of adversity.
Pray to God when we have suffered injustice
Perhaps there is someone who has committed sinful acts against you, someone who has violated your rights, abused you sexually, physically, or emotionally. Perhaps you have been abused, slandered, or hurt. God can take all those destructive actions and turn them into eternal blessing in your life.
Let us take, for example, Joseph and his brothers’ case in their biblical story. They took Joseph, threw him into a well, sold him as a slave, falsely accused him, and put him in a prison. From there, God took him out so that he could be the second most important person in the world’s largest empire at that time.
God used all the negative things that had happened in Joseph’s life so that he could grow and have emotional well-being, training him to be powerful in His cause (God). God can also take everything negative that has happened to you and use it to transform your life and help you become a giant for his Kingdom.
Bad things happens
You may have been fired from your job, or maybe you have received the news that you have a serious or terminal illness, maybe one of your family members has died, or you feel that problems overwhelm you, that you have no rest, that you cannot take it anymore. But God is above everything. God is there by your side to make all these things a blessing for you. God never leaves you.
Pray to God, He loves us
Romans 8:26 tells us that for those who love God, all things work for good. Regardless of what you have experienced in your life, God is more powerful than what has happened to you. God created you and tells you:
“I love you so much that if you leave what is happening to you to Me, if you surrender it totally to My will, if you believe that I am in control and you have a grateful attitude, I will take everything that is jeopardizing your life, what is making you unhappy, what saddens and worries you, and I am going to use it to bless your life. From all this, a blessing may arise for which you will feel grateful to God. Everything will be for your own good.”
God has a perfect plan for your life and mine
Perhaps we look at the circumstances that surround us and think that we have stood still forever, static in a painful place, stuck. We feel that the more we ask and cry out to God to help us, the more adverse circumstances around us seem to pile up. The highlight, in which that situation stops, cannot come until we acknowledge that God is in control and wants us to give Him control of everything.
He loves us, He wants us to be happy, God wants to bring blessings to our lives, blessings that in us will rekindle that love we have for Him, blessings that will make us feel grateful and praise Him in the midst of difficulties. God is that light in the midst of the dark world in which we live, He is our refuge in our difficulties. Let us come to God today with praise and thanks, and thank him for every blessing that He has given to our lives.
Even when we do not understand the good that will come from an unfavorable and adverse situation, let us show gratitude and praise. God expects this of us. It will be a blessing.