Praise and Thanks

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

  • Luke 2:14


The angels sang this on the day of the birth of Jesus, and I sing it today.


I give all praise and thanks to God.  Today is a wonderful day.


We should each have this type of entrance into each day, but we often think of those sore muscles, our to-do list, and those pesky moths that eat all of the money in our wallets.  Those are moths that make the money go away?  Right?


No, today is yet another day when there is a perfect storm from my Heavenly Father to let me know that He is sovereign and that He loves me and He especially loves my wife.


Yesterday, I invited my wife to accompany me to the barber shop.  The problem was that so many people got there when he opened that she had to sit in the car.  I took her to breakfast afterwards.  She wanted to go to a place that had a Cajun flare, rare in the Pittsburgh area.  As we chowed down on cheddar grits, hers with Cajun sauce and andouille, I suggested that we walk the outlet mall across the street.  I almost immediately regretted it.  My lower back started hurting and I leaned heavily on the cane.  No new pain.  I’m used to it, but it was more intense than usual.  We only visited three stores, and then we went home.


I went around the house, went through, and unlocked the back door for my wife to take to shortcut to the back door.  My wife was in excruciating pain.  I had to help her to bed.  Her right knee had simply seized and the pain was horrible.  At that point, both of my knees were hurting after our little walk, but it was the usual thing.  For my wife, this was something new.


Her mobility got even worse and she lamented that the pain was so bad, it interfered with sleep.


I prayed for healing.


Then the morning came.


My wife was more mobile and the pain was less.  She thought about her rheumatoid arthritis in her back, hips, and knees.  It was probably a flair up.


My first devotional was about being thankful.


Warren Wiersbe wrote, “The words ‘thank’ and ‘think’ come from the same root word.  If we think more, we would thank more.”


Jim Gallery wrote, “Why wait until the fourth Thursday in November?  Why wait until the morning of December twenty-fifth?  Thanksgiving to God should be an everyday affair.  The time to be thankful is now!”


Charles Spurgeon wrote, “The heathen misrepresent God by worshipping idols; we misrepresent God by our murmuring and our complaining.”


That was just a taste.


My second devotional was from A. W. Tozer.  He wrote, “Slowly you discover God’s love in your suffering.  Your heart will begin to approve the whole thing. You will learn from yourself what all the schools of the world could not teach you – the healing action of faith without supporting pleasure.  You will feel and understand the ministry of the night; its power to purify, to detach, to humble, to destroy the fear of death and what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life.  And you will learn at sometimes pain can do what even joy cannot, such as exposing the vanity of earth’s trifles and filling your heart with longing of the peace of heaven.”  (That Incredible Christian)


Well, by the time that I had written this, the pain has returned, but not as bad.  We have a doctor’s appointment in a couple of hours, but that changes nothing.


That was my perfect storm.  Answered prayer, if only for a moment.  Two devotionals that encapsulated what God was doing in the lives of my wife and me.  All at just the right time.


I still praise God for who He is.  God is in control, and God uses our pain for all of those things that Tozer mentioned.


Maybe my lesson is for my next winter haircut to be by myself.  Maybe we shouldn’t celebrate the balmy warm weather, in the 40s with sunshine, to walk an outdoor mall.  It was still cold to our knees and backs.  But that’s just the mechanics of the moment.


Each of our pains, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual, can all purify us, detach us, and humble us.


I was once asked if I were at peace with the idea of death.  That’s not the point.  With the love of Jesus in my heart, I long to be at peace in heaven, but God gives me the strength to not fear life in the meantime.


Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.


Through our pain, we learn what that means.


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