“But I am afflicted and in pain; May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high. I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the LORD better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs.” -Psalms 69:29-31
A few years ago, my pastor had to take a trip by plane to go and minister. During my quiet time, I began to pray for him. I asked God to keep him safe and protect him, but I didn’t stop there. I began to get specific and ask God for the smallest of things. I prayed that the flight would be great, that my pastor would find favor while at his destination, that he would get upgraded to first class. I kept on praying about every little detail I could think of, and then it happened…. God interrupted my prayer!
Yes, beloved, I actually heard God while I was praying. As I was earnestly pouring out my heart, He said the following words…. “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie…. Would you please just stop!” At that moment, I froze and honestly thought, “Awwww man…. He’s fixin’ to call me home!“ …because I knew I had just messed up big! But then I heard Him say this: “Let me ask you a question. How would you feel if your daughter (who was at the time about 5-years-old) came to you and said, “Dad, could you please make sure we had groceries to eat?… And dad could you please make sure I get to school on time?… And dad could you make sure I have clean clothes to wear?…. Now, if she said that to you, how would you feel?” To His question, I replied, “Pretty Bad. I’d feel like a dad who doesn’t provide.” He then replied, “Now you know how I feel.”
Needless to say, I felt really bad, but I remedied my error; before I tell you how, let’s go to the text. In Psalms 69, David tells us in the 29th verse, “I’m afflicted and in pain.” That’s not a Facebook status any of us want, but sometimes we’re there anyhow. And yet, while hurting, he’s still waiting on the salvation of God.
So how does David wait? According to verse 30, he waits with a song of praise and with thanksgiving. Now please don’t take that lightly because “to wait with praise” means that David’s telling God He’s doing a good job, even during his (David’s) affliction and pain.” Also, “to wait with thanksgiving” means David’s telling God, “I know you’re going to bring me out of this, so I thank you before I see it, walk in it, taste it, or touch it.”
Now, to tie all of this together, let’s go back to my prayer for my pastor. Once I realized the error of my prayer, I began to pray, not based on the need I had, but based on the Father I had. I now began praying, “God I thank you for keeping my pastor safe. I thank you that he travels with a hedge of protection around him, and I thank you for the favor you bestow upon him…..
You see, in the same way you thank a friend who promises to give you a ride to work tomorrow, you can thank the Lord while you are still in that very situation! Why? Because you’ve got a Father in heaven who is too good to you to leave you in the mess you’re in. He cares too much for you to let the chaos run you ragged. Therefore, by trusting in Him and giving thanks to Him before He delivers you, you please Him more than if you would have given Him an offering (v. 31).
So this Thanksgiving, I don’t have to remind you to be thankful for all the great things God’s done for you; however, I do want to encourage you to give Him thanks for the thing He hasn’t done yet. You see, He hasn’t brought you out of debt yet, healed you yet, straightened out the kids yet, gotten the house out of foreclosure yet, restored the marriage yet, or given you peace yet. But go ahead and thank Him anyhow because surely, if you can thank a friend for a ride before it comes, you can thank your Father in Heaven before your breakthrough comes. And believe me beloved, it is well on the way!