Empty or Full: Bring a Sacrifice of Praise

Post by Therese Kay

I’ve been working through The God of All Comfort: Devotions of hope for those who chronically suffer by Judy Gann.  Today’s Scripture was Habakkuk 3:17-18

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Immediately, my mind went to my wallet and its anemic state.  Due to Lyme Disease, I was out of work for several years and I’m still financially recovering… the process is slow.

As I was journaling and praying through the Scripture above, I “interrupted” myself and went to Facebook.  (This is clearly an avoidance technique that I employ at times to avoid difficult topics.) Anyways, the first post I saw was from a friend who often shares quotes and clearly this was a God moment.  What was the quote?

“Though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that.” - Frances Hodgson Burnett

OK, God!  I hear you!!  Even when I try to avoid You and the painful feelings in my heart, You are there.  Even when I feel discouraged, you are there, never abandoning me, seeing me in my struggles, accepting and loving me in my weaknesses.  

Shortly after my sister died in a tragic car accident, I found myself clinging to a book I had found on a clearance table.  I bought it for the title and continue to keep it for the title. I don’t even remember the contents of the book any more except that I know it’s a book of poetry.  The title: Yet Life Was a Triumph. And it is.

Even in the midst of tragedy, struggle, pain, God calls us to worship Him and reframe our lives and experiences with an eternal perspective; with a perspective that keeps Him constant in His character, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  

Empty-and-Full-Glass.jpg

Read the Psalms, Lamentations, Job… The human experience is rife with suffering but the joy is that God joins us and walks with us through that suffering.  I think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3, thrown into the furnace… and yet, there was a fourth, Jesus, that looked like “a son of the gods” walking with them.  I think of the death of Lazarus and Jesus weeping with His friends.  I think of Paul sharing in his letter to the Romans that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Our wallets, our hands, our health may be impoverished but, our heart is always full of God’s love to be shared.

We are called in Hebrews 13:15 to bring Him a sacrifice of praise and this is what I do today when I struggle with all kinds of things.  I think Joni Eareckson Tada expressed it nicely:

“I think that God is especially honored when we offer a sacrifice of praise.  He is glorified when we offer words of adoration wrenched from a painful and bruised heart.  Perhaps that’s because the weight of each word of praise that’s been sacrificed.”

I pray you always know your heart is full and God is near - in all of your struggles.  God is with you - Emmanuel!