“Thanksgiving precedes the miracle” – a concept I came to understand while in spiritual boot camp over nearly three years. II Chronicles 20:22 says: As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated (emphasis mine). Ann Voskamp in her book One Thousand Gifts expounds on this concept. I am still learning all it means and it is by no means a name it and claim it theology but more a perspective of expectation that our God will do what only He can do. Let me give you an example:
I have a prodigal. No other way to put it. I have moved from begging and pleading with God to return this one I love, to thanking Him that His eye is never off of them, that He is using this time in life to teach lessons nothing else would teach me. I am TRYING to thank Him every day, 1000 times a day for their return even though I see NO evidence that this will ever occur. The focus of my prayer is thanksgiving for all we have shared, His provision for them, His comfort to me (yes, I am heartbroken by the loss), His protection of them while they are far away, His direction to me to “be still and be quiet, and wait upon the LORD.” I have pried open my controlling hand and relinquished control to the only One who can change this situation and bring healing. Trust me, I have tried, cried, anguished and stewed and NOTHING I have done has changed “one cotton-pickin thing” as we say in the South.
Thanksgiving is vital to our life in Christ. Nothing is more Christ like than being thankful no matter what! By focusing on all that God has given us (even on our worst day we are given over 115,000 heart beats and each one says “love you, love you, love you”) our perspective changes from the negative to the positive: from what we see as wrong in life to what God will do.
The Lord hates ingratitude. It is called an abomination: This reality was eye opening to me. Ingratitude is not some innocuous attitude. It is our focus on what we do not have that we want and believe we are entitled too. This was the cause of the fall of man. The admonition of scripture is to “give thanks IN all things.” Our thanksgiving moves the heart of God. If you have a child you totally get this! An appreciative child moves the heart of a parent to want to give more. The child who is unappreciative of all a parent does will soon find themselves without what they once enjoyed. Entitlement is an ugly monster ruling our society today.
Notice in the scripture that it was after the Israelites began to praise and sing (act of thanksgiving) that the LORD intervened and gave His children what they needed–VICTORY! Their perspective changed from discouragement and fear to trust and obedience as evidenced by their thanksgiving. (II Chronicles 20:15-22)
Do you need a miracle? What better time to begin to believe God for BIG answers. Our problem as believers is not believing that God can but in believing that He will and that He will do it for me! I think this is the point……….He wants to so we will have a story as big as the Israelites. Our story of what God has done is our testimony!
Look back. Make a list of all the prayers He has answered. Begin here thanking Him for His past provision and THEN begin to thank Him for all He is doing and will do in your specific situation. God is not blind or deaf. He hears. He sees. He is moved to compassion. He will answer.
“Thanksgiving precedes the miracle”