Praise Prepares Us for Problems

By: Jill Briscoe

Learning to receive the good gifts of God, praising Him, and cultivating a thankful attitude in general, gets us into the right frame of mind to accept the problems of life. Job and his family had been the recipients of God’s free blessings for seventy years. Their hands had been open wide, stretched out toward heaven, to receive all the Lord gave them. Job refused to take those same outstretched hands and clench them into fists to shake in the face of God when the gifts of grace, health, wealth, and happiness were withheld. After all, the Giver of gifts has a perfect right to give or to withhold. He is under no obligation to us whatsoever. Having been a truly thankful man all his life helped Job when he had nothing to be thankful about. Praise prepares us for problems. It doesn’t keep trouble away, but it gets us ready for trouble when it comes.

Are you a negative or a positive person? Even if your personality or circumstance leads you to live in the shadows rather than the light, you can begin to discipline yourself to think about the good, not the evil, side of life. Paul enjoins us to do just that. “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about” (Phil 4:8).

A dear friend stricken with terminal cancer wrote to me along these very lines. She said, “I have existed in a healthy body for so many years, this is all so new to me. Oh yes, I do clench my fists at times. It’s still difficult to accept and understand since there is no history of cancer in my family and I have practiced all the healthy habits all of these years. But again and again, prayer and thanksgiving bring me back to an understanding and to an attitude of gratitude. I’ve been blessed in so many ways.” How is your attitude?

Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.