1 Peter 1:6-7
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
"Every blessing you pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
'Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name'
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
'Blessed be your name'"
--"Blessed Be Your Name," Matt Redman
The past week or so has been filled with a lot of bad news, with a vast amount of friends going through difficult trials. I've been thinking a lot about our attitudes toward the Lord, when he generously gives us gifts, and when he takes some away. I am so quick to praise and thank God when he gives me something, such as rest, self-discipline, fellowship, a close parking spot. But how quick am I to praise him when I learn the sister of my friend died tragically? Or that a sweet family will never meet their little boy because he died in utero? Or that a lovely wife and mother has stage three cancer? Or that a precocious four year old I knew suddenly died of a brain aneurysm? How quickly do I praise God when I fail a test, or feel rejected by friends?
How quickly do we lift our hands to God, and say, "I don't understand, but blessed be your name, Lord"? When do we say that? We may have faith, accept what happened, and still believe that God is good and faithful and loving, but when do we bless the Lord's name for what happened?
I'm not so sure we do. In my selfishness, I am so quick to wallow in self-pity and misery. In my weakness and flesh, I focus on myself, not on the unfailing character of the Lord, or the promises he has made to me. I focus on the "why?" and not the goodness, mercy, love, faithfulness, and care of the Lord. In that, I praise God that he is all of those things, and forgives me for my selfishness and ungratefulness. He is good in all things, and unfailing in his love. Blessed be His name.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
" But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."