Sometimes it seems there is not much to be happy about these days. COVID variations still threaten people world-wide, US mandates threaten freedoms and livelihoods, and the unrest that follows threatens peace and security in families. Anxiety and depression are at peak levels. Many believe that finding a cure for this pandemic is the way out. But there are far too many issues plaguing society for that to be a cure-all. It is similar to the effort of moving to a different state to escape problems in the current location, only to find that the problems made the move as well.
King David had many troubles throughout his reign over Israel, and the Psalms he wrote record times he felt overwhelmed, maligned, and depressed. He poured out his frustration and desperation, but his words always became positive when he turned his thoughts to the goodness of God: “I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11) David had discovered how to flip negativity.
If we are to follow David’s example, it doesn’t mean we ignore or minimize critical issues facing us, but we look to God for answers, and praise Him for His faithfulness. Faithfulness is an aspect of God’s character, therefore He cannot be anything other than faithful. History testifies of God’s faithfulness from creating a self-sustaining world, to sending Jesus into that world to provide forgiveness of sin, relationship with God, and eternal life. The Lord’s faithfulness is just as active today in the personal lives of all who seek Him. The caveat is that we cannot dictate what His faithfulness looks like; neither should we be disappointed when He doesn’t perform according to our expectations. Taking a page from David’s book, we must praise Him first for Who He is. The good He does becomes added blessing.
Jesus does not cease being Lord in difficulties and hardships, so why not praise Him in the midst of them? While Hebrews 13:6 tells us that He never leaves us or forsakes us, Psalm 22:3 additionally states He inhabits the praises of His people. If we allow Him, Jesus’ Presence manifests so powerfully in the trial that it becomes a faith affirming experience where it is possible to even praise Him for the trial. Our eyes are opened, and the enemy’s favorite tactic of evoking fear is exposed. His goal is to have us doubt the goodness of God, for he knows that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6) Thankfully, our gained trust in God is the most powerful anti-fear weapon. Our open eyes also enable us to see God as good and loving, eliciting our thanksgiving, rather than as punitive or uncaring, expressed by complaining. Knowing that Jesus is active on the scene, brings hope, “and hope does not disappoint.” (Romans 5:5)
This year as we enter the season of Thanksgiving, instead of focusing on the “things” we are grateful for, let us focus on the Giver. In giving God glory for His goodness and faithfulness, let us purpose to make thankfulness a way of life for the coming year, praising God in good times and in bad. Then let us take inventory this time next year to see the numerous and amazing times that God flipped negativity to bring hope and blessing.