IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS!
I was a great murmurer and complainer for a long time. But the longsuffering God in His grace and mercy is slowly healing me of that disease and making me thankful for the least of my mercies.
The Pharisee in the temple prayed, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers …etc.” Truth is, I too many times pray thus, but not in pride or self-righteousness, but in humility and a deep sense of thankfulness! For BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM! And by that same grace I have been taught the doctrine of the ‘Absolute Sovereignty of God’ to realize full well that BUT FOR GOD’S SOVEREIGN CHOICE I could have been the Pharaoh, Saul or Judas or any one of the ‘many’ vessels of wrath prepared afore for destruction! And I WOULD HAVE HAD NO SAY IN THE MATTER WHATSOEVER. A contemplation of this truly makes me shudder at who Jehovah really is!
On the other hand I look around me and see people who are so morally good and religiously faithful (unlike me), but notwithstanding are LOST; my heart melts with gratitude and thankfulness for the God who chose ME to be His son! As the apostle said- “Behold, WHAT MANNER OF LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. [1John 3:1] And again, “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY He saved us! [Titus 3:5].
The objector to God’s Sovereign grace questions God saying “why hast Thou made ME thus”? And the Apostle rightly rebukes him for this! But I too often times find myself asking this very question. Not in REBELLION OR HATRED TO GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, but in SHEER AWESOMENESS AND AWARENESS OF MY OWN UNWORTHINESS! As the Psalmist exclaimed , “Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is MY house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto”? [2Sam 7;18] Or as Mephibosheth after him, “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a DEAD DOG AS I AM”? [2Sam 9:8]
Spurgeon commenting on this verse says –
“If Mephibosheth was thus humbled by David’s kindness, what shall we be in the presence of our gracious Lord? The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves, for grace, like light, reveals our impurity. Eminent saints have scarcely known to WHAT TO COMPARE THEMSELVES, their sense of unworthiness has been so clear and keen. “I am,” says holy Rutherford, “a dry and withered branch, a piece of dead carcass, dry bones, and not able to step over a straw.” In another place he writes, “Except as to open outbreakings, I want nothing of what Judas and Cain had.”
I believe we shall never grasp the awesomeness of what it means to be saved until we grasp the awesomeness of what it means to BE LOST FOR ETERNITY. So terrible is this that the Master said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? [Mark 8:36,37] And again – “it had been good for that man if he had not been born”. [Mat 26:24]. As an ex-Satanist I have had some horrific experiences with demons, and to think that the one who is damned to Hell will spend an eternity with them is MORE FRIGHTENING AND FEARFUL THAN TONGUE CAN TELL! [See Matt 25:41]
And when I begin to understand that I of my own free will would have never chosen the Lord and on the contrary I was enmity itself toward Him, it breaks and melts my heart beyond measure so that I realize my unworthiness and exclaim with Peter, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord”. [Luke 5:8].
Another comforting thought and experience in my Christian walk is that not only has He saved me but KEEPS ME SAVED! Oh how oft have we provoked Him and grieved Him with our sins. Both sins of omission and sins of commission. And that in spite of a sound knowledge of the Word! But praise His Name He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities [Psa 103:10]. But as a father pitieth his children, He pitieth us remembering that we are dust! As the grand old hymn says –
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again. [Hallelujah!]
Again how thankful should I be for the Holy Spirit who comes to me again and again in my times of discouragement and despair, when I no longer feel the presence of God because of some disobedience. In times like these the Spirit comes to us and assures us that we are still God’s children and brings to mind every verse we know on assurance; assuring us that God will never leave us nor forsake us and that He hath inscribed us on the palms of His hand! Oh Beloved, He is not called the Comforter without a good reason. Many a time this is the ONLY comfort we ever get! Friends, theologians and well-meaning loved ones most often turn out to be like Job’s comforters! [see Job 16:2]. But our Lord has always been our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble!
“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto THY NAME give glory, for THY MERCY, and for THY TRUTH’S sake!” [Psalm 115:1] Amen!