by Joy Press, Assistant Principal
In my home there is a stark difference between the way my husband follows football and the way that I do. Mr. Press loves the Clemson Tigers. Even when they disappoint him by playing poorly, he remains a Tiger’s fan. Recently, he has been sharing with anyone who listens the good news that the Tigers are ranked first! I, on the other hand, do not share this enthusiasm for college football.
I have, however, become a tiny bit of a Patriot’s fan. I like to know when they are playing and what the final score is. I rejoice when they win…because I receive a free coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I do not love the Patriots; I do not watch their games; I do not know their stats or the names of the players on the team. I am a “fan” only because of what they can give to me—a free coffee once a week.
During the holiday season we are all reminded to be thankful for what we have been given. We offer much deserved thanks to God for giving us families, homes, health and all the MANY blessings that He has bestowed upon us. This is right and good. God has indeed blessed all of us with gifts that are too numerable to count. He deserves our thanks.
However, our praise for God and our thanks must go beyond this. It is easy to become God’s “fan” for the “free coffee.” When we do, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to thank God and praise Him when the blessings seem to be missing.
Bible verses, hymns and worship songs remind us that though the trials come, still we can praise God. Have you ever found it difficult to repeat words of praise in these songs? Are you able to praise God not only when He gives, but also when He takes away? How can you praise God when your prayers seem unanswered and the desires of your heart go unfilled?
The solution lies in the answer to yet another question, “Is God still good?” In fact, we are asking, “Is God still God?” Is He the same God when you feel loved and blessed as when your heart is broken? The answer is a resounding, “YES!” God is unchanging; His nature and character are steadfast. His love for us and His faithfulness to us have never wavered or faltered, no matter how far from Him we may have wandered.
We are called to praise God because of who He is and what He has done. This does not depend upon our circumstances or the blessings we can see or feel. It is admittedly not easy to praise Him in our trials, but our trials make Him no less deserving of our praise. In fact, if we will allow Him, He will meet us with comfort and hope while bringing light into our darkest moments. Only God can bring beauty from our ashes, and that is a very good reason to offer praise!
Let us continue to thank God for all that He has done. Counting our blessings is good, but getting to know the God who gives the blessings is better! May we seek to move our eyes off our circumstances (good or bad) and fix them firmly onto Christ Himself. The deeper our relationship with Him, the more we love Him, the more we trust Him, and the more readily we praise Him. Let us not be merely “thanks-focused” this Thanksgiving, but let us be “God-focused” people this holiday season and all year long.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!