Reading Time: 5 Minutes
Only human beings can express gratitude to God. The trees and birds outside my window are perfectly aligned with God’s design for them, but they can’t say “thank you.”
People like you and me receive God’s abounding grace on a daily basis. Our humanity is best on display when we respond to God’s grace with praise, thanksgiving and hearts full of gratitude.
Psalm 30 will help us express our thanks and praise to God for his grace.
Concrete Reasons for Gratitude
Praise is rooted in the nature and character of God. Gratitude is based on concrete blessings that God has bestowed on us.
I praise you, Lord, because you have saved me
and kept my enemies from gloating over me.
I cried to you for help, O Lord my God,
and you healed me;
you kept me from the grave.
I was on my way to the depths below,
but you restored my life. (Psalm 30.1-3)
We are grateful because . . .
— God has saved us and protected us from our enemies.
— God has healed us.
— God is “my God.” He invites us into a personal relationship with him.
— He grants us the fullness of life.
Pause for a moment. Choose one of the phrases from these verses and express your gratitude and praise to God.
Join in Praise
Good news must be celebrated with others. Thankful people sing, remember and rejoice.
Sing praise to the Lord,
all his faithful people!
Remember what the Holy One has done,
and give him thanks!
His anger lasts only a moment,
his goodness for a lifetime.
Tears may flow in the night,
but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30.4-5)
Jesus told parables about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. When they were found, people called together their friends and family to rejoice (See Luke 15).
The shepherd was typical of all three. He called his “friends and neighbors together and said to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!'” (Luke 15.6).
Include people in your praise today. Post a brief expression of praise or gratitude on Facebook. Write a comment at the end of this blog article.
Sing God’s praises and remember a specific act of grace that God has bestowed on you. Invite others to share in your joy.
Self-confidence – A Hindrance to Gratitude
Prosperity can be seductive. The good life can lead to self-confidence instead of reliance upon God.
I felt secure and said to myself,
“I will never be defeated.”
You were good to me, Lord;
you protected me like a mountain fortress.
But then you hid yourself from me,
and I was afraid. (Psalm 30.6-7)
It is difficult to be full of “self” and feel close to God at the same time. When life is going well, it is tempting be over confident in our own abilities.
God will often withdraw the sense of his presence, when we become self-centered. If we are sensitive to his presence, we will repent and quickly return to him.
Living one day at a time and seeking a constant conscious contact with God is a good way to guard against the kind of pride that can creep in when things are going well.
The logic of this prayer is almost offensive. The speaker informs God that he will receive one less person of praise if he dies.
In the face of a very bold argument, the speaker also asks for mercy and help.
I called to you, Lord;
I begged for your help:
“What will you gain from my death?
What profit from my going to the grave?
Are dead people able to praise you?
Can they proclaim your unfailing goodness?
Hear me, Lord, and be merciful!
Help me, Lord!” (Psalm 30.8-10)
I praise God that he gives us permission through Psalms like this one to be very honest with him about our feelings. Our private prayers don’t have to sound like a public prayer in church.
We can be raw with our feelings before God. At the same time, we can pray for his mercy.
Sadness to Joy
I wish our sadness turned to joy as quickly as it takes to read from one verse to the next in this Psalm.
You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance;
you have taken away my sorrow
and surrounded me with joy.
So I will not be silent;
I will sing praise to you.
Lord, you are my God;
I will give you thanks forever. (Psalm 30.11-12)
In 1963 Sam Cooke wrote the song, “A Change is Gonna Come.” The song expressed the struggle of the African American community for basic civil rights.
God does change sadness into joyful dancing, but it often requires persistence and patience. The journey of many in our world for basic equality is an example of how slowly change can come.
However, God does change our situation. He grants health, financial security, and opportunities. Best of all, he gives us his presence and power in the midst of the issues of life.
We can sing, dance for joy, and express our thanks to God for the tangible ways we experience his grace and provision.
May We Pray for You?
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. I will pray for you and the prayer team at Maywood Baptist Church will pray, too.