Lessons of 2019 – March.
This is the third part in a new blog-series about the lessons I’ve learned this year. Read the full into in the January post, but basically I’m sharing the stand-out lessons from the last year in the hope that they will inspire and encourage others, and I also want to urge you all to be intentional about capturing and retaining the lessons that will make you a better person. Here is March’s lesson…
March’s Lesson: Faith and Gratitude
“Thank God for what He is going to do, even though you don’t know how He is going to do it. If you thank God after the fact, that’s gratitude; if you thank God in advance, that’s faith.” (Rick Warren)
I love this Rick Warren quote about thanking God for doing something before He does it. That’s a great definition of faith. You don’t have it yet, you don’t know exactly what it will look like, but you believe that God will do it. You’re so sure you’re going to get it that you’re able to say thank you before it arrives.
This is quite challenging, because most of us aren’t very good at thanking God even after He’s done it. So, to move beyond that to thanking before He does it will be a steep learning curve for us. Let’s accept this challenge and use it move us more into a mindset of thankfulness.
Faith and gratitude go hand in hand. Faith is built when we receive an answer to prayer and thank God for it and believing in something will make us more grateful when it arrives. In fact, maybe the only real difference between faith and gratitude is timing: whether or not we have the thing we asked for yet. If we don’t have it or can’t see it yet, we need to look to God with faith; if we do have it, we need to look to Him with thankfulness.
Another area most of us can grow in is trusting God with the how. We can have faith about the what even if we don’t know about the how. Faith that becomes overly prescriptive turns into a demand. When we try and dictate how God will answer our prayers it can cause us frustration and liable to miss out on the things that God really wants to do just because we can’t imagine them. We don’t need to control how God does something, we just need to put our requests to Him in faith and then thank Him when we see how He responds.
So, we start with faith and end with gratitude. But in-between is a whole lot of trust and a big exercise in letting go. Let’s trust that God knows what He’s doing and allow Him to do what only He can do. Maturity in God requires us to give up being control freaks over our lives and the way we think things should be done. It requires us to start in faith, follow up with trust and react with gratitude.
What do you need to surrender to God in faith? What can you thank Him in advance for, even though you don’t have it yet? And what do you already have that you’ve forgotten to thank Him for?
January’s Lesson: Don’t Worry About Tomorrow, God is Already There.
February’s Lesson: Inconsistent Parents Raise Insecure Children.
Come back tomorrow for April’s Lesson. Even better, subscribe to my blog by email and never miss another post.