In Psalm 69, David writes:
“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God…” (v. 1-3)The psalm goes on and towards the end he writes “but I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!” (v. 29) What comes immediately after this is profound. He says, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hooves.” (v. 30-31)
Afflicted, in pain… these are strong, forthright words. But while he says I AM these things, he also says I WILL praise and thank God. He does not sugarcoat his situation or undermine the pain. No, he honestly gives voice to the pain and hardship he is facing AND chooses even stillto praise God and magnify him by giving thanks.
We also discover something marvelous in verse 31, and that is how God is pleased with a sacrifice of thanksgiving. More pleased, David says, than if he had an offering to bring. You mean, even when I have nothing to offer/nothing to bring to the table, I can come and give thanks to God and that brings Him immense pleasure? Yes, yes, yes!
Whatever our circumstance, be that one of evident abundance and gladness or one of intense pain and affliction, we have the opportunity to choose to praise God and give Him thanks, and when we do, it pleases Him! I find great comfort knowing that even in desolate “nothingness” there is something of immeasurable value to bring before God (thanksgiving). It is evidence to me of a God who shines light into darkness, brings forth pools of water in the most desolate wastelands, and brings dead bones back to life. And that God is beautiful and so SO worthy of all of our attention and affection and praise. We can truly give thanks to Him because He is good and his steadfast love endures forever!
I am learning to choose, to practice this thankfulness in the “good” days AND the hard and painful ones. Looking back at the past month and a half, here are a few things I am thankful for:
- That God is alive and active, drawing and wooing hearts of people here in Pécs
- Hope. For eternity and for today
- Opportunities to serve God with music
- Friendships with so many incredible people from all different cultures and languages
- The beautiful Hungarian language — for increasing understanding and the continual joy of learning, and for a teacher who is helpful and encouraging!
- Honest hearts who are facing doubts and questions and pressing deeper to seek out what is really true
- Seeing people desiring to know God and honor Him with their lives
- The opportunity to teach English to a group of 4-6 year olds and see them enjoying the lessons, singing and speaking new words in English
- Getting to spend time with ALL FIVE of my sisters here in Hungary. Especially for getting to share my home space with them and have them meet some of the people who are so dear to me here
- That God cares enough to deal with the messy and hurting places in our lives
The list could go on and on! The last thing I want to mention is how thankful I am for YOU! I am so thankful for continued love, prayer, and generous support. I couldn’t be here without all of you and it is such a privilege to have you standing with me. THANK YOU for your partnership in seeing the gospel go forward here in Hungary!
What are you thankful for? If you have time sit down and write a few down, I would love to hear some of what you are thankful for!
PRAYER REQUEST FOR SATURDAY
Saturday our church is hosting our annual Women’s Christmas Tea outreach event. This has been a key event every year, one that God has used in impactful ways to reach hearts of women in our community. It’s a fun evening of yummy treats, music, crafting, a short encouragement, conversation, and more. Each year women in our church invite friends, family, and coworkers and each year many come who would never otherwise step foot into a church. This year the message that will be shared is God’s lavish love for us from the story of the prodigal son. Will you join us in praying for this event? Pray that hearts would be open to hear and receive the truth of the gospel! And pray that this time could be a catalyst for further conversations about God and deeper relationship opportunities between the women in our church and our friends who come.
I am excited to share that I will be traveling stateside for a home visit! For those of you in the PNW, I will be in the Vancouver/Portland area for Christmas and through January and would love to connect with you! I am looking forward to seeing and reconnecting with many of you!
P.S. Below are a few pictures from the time with my sisters!