Thanksgiving may have passed and most of us are focused on Christmas preparations, but something significant happened for me and my family this Thanksgiving, that makes me say that thankfulness isn’t a one-time event, it is a lifestyle of sweet sacrifice. The psalmist doesn’t qualify the season in which we come before the Lord with thanksgiving, because the assumption is that thanksgiving is our daily posture before Him.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
– Psalm 100:4-5
Recently, Pastor Gwen Gibson preached a message on the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (not the holiday, but the position of our heart towards the Lord) that activated a response in me and my husband, Andy. When I shared this with Gwen, she asked that I write a guest blog to share our experience as an encouragement to others.
I know some of your stories…and some of you know mine. In some areas, it has been a crushing season, one where the threshing floor has become my heart. I’ve become the same stone that has been beaten so that everything that is not grain in my life has splintered.
The thing that we haven’t heard is that the most valuable threshing floors are the ones that sing. Yes, sing. As they are beaten, they emit a sound. Wars have been literally fought over those rocks.
Pastor Gwen’s message several weeks ago gave me pause. She spoke about the power of a sacrifice of praise to cause doors to open and chains to fall to the ground…like a kernel of wheat opening and chaff floating to the ground. Was it possible that Paul and Silas found that they could sing in the midst of bringing grain from chaff? Thanking the Lord in the middle of the tempo of pain? It was at a threshing floor where Moses was asked to sacrifice Isaac, the same floor where the Holy of Holies– the very intimate place of God’s Presence–would eventually stand.
On the threshing floors, grain came as provision. But on his floor, Moses discovered God as Provider. In the Temple, God provided Himself. Gwen talked about entering His courts with thanksgiving and finding the One who is Fullness of Joy.
Stretching out a piece of paper on my own floor a few days ago, I began to be intentional about offering thanks over my life. Andy and I wrote down everything we could think of that we were thankful for. In sacrificing fear, pride, disappointment, justification and even all that the Lord had promised us, we began to cross the threshing floor to enter His courts of intimacy. Something beautiful began to happen. You could hear it…a sweet sound rising up between our spirits. In the midst of His Presence, we found a song of joy.