July 24, 2017
For four years of elementary school, I was pulled out of class for speech therapy. I am a stutterer with a lisp. Words with the letter “s” were so hard for me to pronounce. “Desks” was a word I had to repeat 5 times quickly as part of my therapy. If that wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t initiate speech if the first word began with the letter b, d, k, l, or r. Because of my stutter, starting a sentence was always hard, but it was just impossible to start talking with certain
words. I had to rethink how to begin the sentence with a different word. Once I started
speaking, I would talk really fast because that limited my stuttering. If I hesitated, it was like
starting all over.
For many people, including me, four words are so hard to say, not because of a speech
impediment, but because of a heart impediment, “I’m sorry” and “Thank you.” It’s amazing
how painful it can be to say these simple yet powerful words with sincerity to another person.
But for some people, they don’t even exist. Saying “Thank you” means they have given another
person authority, leverage, or power. It implies they need something. And once that thing has
been given to you, you owe the other person. Now he or she is one up on you.
We’ve all suffered hurts, wounds, and letdowns in the past. The automatic, self-protective
reaction is to develop defenses that ensure we don’t get hurt again. Two frequently used
defenses are taking control and being independent. The first means we have a plan. The second
means we never depend on the plans of others. We know our needs. We know how to meet
them better than anyone else could. So how dare God have plans different from ours?
When our plans, strategies, or agendas don’t play out we have two choices. 1. Be mad, anxious,
fearful, hurt, frustrated, discontented, upset, frantic, or overwhelmed that we didn’t get what
we wanted; 2. Be thankful that our all-knowing, all-powerful, loving, awesome Father God had
a better plan to bring us what is best for our growth and fulfillment. Thankfulness is not our
natural me-centered response, so it’s much more difficult to summon up. But it really is a much
healthier response. It allows you to improve your relationship with GOD, with others, and even
Try thanking God regularly throughout your day. Each time you thank Him, You are
acknowledging that He is your Lord and your all-knowing Provider.
Today, when events don’t go your way, STOP! Thank God. When you pray with thanksgiving
during difficult times, you are truly acting like a child of God. When you find it hard to be
thankful, stop and remember who your Lord really is: the Author of your life and your faith. So
what will you choose today when life goes differently than you want … frustration and angst, or
thankfulness and peace? Whether you say “thank you” to God when you don't get your way or
you have a temper tantrum and think you know more than God is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I know I’m supposed to give thanks in all circumstances. But I confess to You
that sometimes my prayers are hollow. I can say them without feeling thankful at all …
especially during difficult times. I know, my Lord, that I am totally dependent on You for
everything … even my next breath. I know that all good things come from You, Lord. I thank You
today in the midst of my struggles. And when I thank You, I receive with thankfulness Your Joy
and Peace. All glory to You, my Lord. I pray this in the name the One who was always thankful
and accepted His circumstances, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by
worshiping him with holy fear and awe.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.
And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one
another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your
hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.