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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thankful for Struggles?

For the past year the Lord has had me in school, prayer school.  It started about this time last year.  I was reading 2 Thessalonians 1:11 – 12.  I was struck by the types of things Paul was praying for believers.  I used his model and found myself wondering what else he prayed, which lead to putting a prayer card together that I put in my journal.
Thankful for Struggles?
I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was confronted in my prayer by my attitude in a difficult situation.  That lesson continued today.

I was in Psalm 111.  Look at verses 3 – 4.  God’s works are described a splendid and majestic.  There are times, and the last week has been one of them, that I find it difficult to agree.  But that is what the text says.  Psalm 139:3 tells us that the Lord scrutinizes our path and our lying down (click on this sentence in this post: He analyzes our path as closely as a civil engineer would use a nested sieve to analyze aggregate in a concrete mix.).  So when someone we love is struggling with a disease or another situation, it is not something that took God by surprise.  He knows and knows in detail, further, He has a reason, a splendid and majestic reason.  We may not see it.  I certainly do not in the things that are facing my family.

Praying through that this morning I was taken to Philippians 4:6 – 7.  You probably have that passage memorized.  There are two instrumental statements in the passage:

  • by prayer and supplication
  • with thanksgiving

The two phrases are structurally connected.  The implications seem to be that our prayer and supplication needs to be supported by our thanksgiving for God’s involvement in all of the things that we are facing in our lives.  Including cancer.

That led me to ask – and I am struggling with the answer – do I have to get to the place where I am thankful for what I am praying for God to remove for my prayer to be effective.


  1. A few months after my wife died I confronted this "problem," or likely say that God confronted me with it. I struggled with it for a few days, making every excuse and justification I could it excuse myself, and knowing I couldn't feel thankful (for me, not her; I ecstatically excited for her!) in doing so.

    I finally knew I had to; after all, the inspired Apostle Paul commanded it, "...give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you...." 1 Thes. 5:18 (NIV).

    So I told the Lord in advance that I would say it, aloud, but admitted I didn't really meant it. At that point it was totally by faith and obedience with my emotions screaming, "No!, no!".

    Something broke in me when I did it; I can't explain it, and it certainly didn't solve the issue completely. But it has given me new freedom to be thankful as a issue of faith, not feelings. And it's carried over into other things, as well.

    I feel like a child on this journey, still striving to become " (my) thinking mature." 1 Cor. 14:20.

    Learning to walk by faith is a tough, rugged up hill and life-long journey....

    1. Thanks, as always that is incredibly helpful...