To come into the answers that we hope for, we must steward well the moments that we have in God. I do not believe we earn answers, but I do believe we can hinder them from coming by not responding to the ways of His Kingdom. To steward these moments well, we must pay attention to what God values. While the list is long, the two most necessary traits are thankfulness and hunger. Those two aspects of hope, held in tension, help us to press onward, but they also help us maintain a proper heart toward Him “until the answer comes.” This abiding hope is our assurance . . . until.
We pray out of hunger. Desire takes on supernatural characteristics as it drives us into the presence of the Lord to bring a request. But sometimes the Lord answers a prayer differently than we expected. I have seen Him answer prayer in seed form instead of the full breakthrough we were looking for. Thankfulness is critical at that point.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jesus multiplied the food. John 6: 11 says that they were able to feed the multitudes with the small portion of food after He had given thanks for what He had. That is a pretty remarkable statement. The little was made large in the atmosphere of thanksgiving.
I have watched so many times through the years as people abort their own miracles. Let me give you an example. Let’s say a person has no movement in her left arm because of a frozen shoulder, and she comes for prayer. As I pray, she begins to move her arm, but not yet with full movement. So she can now move it about eighteen inches from her side, but then it is as though she hits a wall. Almost every time that person will say, “No, it’s not healed yet.”
One thing I hate is hype. I never want anyone to pretend a miracle has happened when it has not. But what actually happened in this case? In one moment, she had no movement. In the next, she has eighteen inches of movement. It is obviously not where we want it to be, but why is thankfulness so rare at this point? If I were saving my money with a goal of having $ 10,000 to buy something very important for my family, and someone gave me a check for $ 3,000, would I be thankful? Of course I would! I am heading in the right direction. So it is with healing or other kinds of miracles. Sometimes the Lord gives us a seed. And it is the atmosphere of thanksgiving that releases that seed into its potential.
The food multiplied for Jesus after He gave thanks. When He was thankful for a boy’s lunch, it became enough to feed thousands. Thankfulness has that kind of power, both over us and over our circumstances. If there were one characteristic that I could wish upon the people of God, it would be thankfulness. There is nothing so life-transforming in its impact on attitude and conduct as that simple trait. And it is that trait that releases the supernatural potential of God’s promises over all that concerns us.
Father, I need to see things as You do. Then I know I would be thankful all the time. You have been so good to me, and You deserve the honoring response of thankfulness from me in all situations. Help me to take advantage of the opportunities that lie before me that seem so intimidating and invade them with a thankful heart. And please help me not just to use this as a tool for breakthrough, but, instead, let it be the honest expression of my hopeful heart for Your faithfulness to me. Thank You.
God is good and God is faithful; this is my reason for hope. He has given Himself to the things that concern me. Because of this, I will honor Him with thanksgiving before the answer comes. I will honor Him while the answer is developing before my eyes. And once the breakthrough is in full form, I will continue to declare His greatness. For He is worthy of all honor.