The Amazing Power of Thanking God for What He Hasn’t Done By Gary Thomas for Church Leaders
The last time Lisa and I bought a house we made a naïve mistake that we won’t make again: we closed on the house with the builder promising to finish several items that weren’t yet completed. He was a Christian, after all, and had even written scriptures into the frame of the house before finishing it.
But he never did finish it, and his ability to stall exceeded our patience until we finally paid to have the rest of the work done ourselves. My wiser friends told me, “That’s why you always hold some money back until the house is entirely finished.”
Such suspicion may be wise on earth but applied to heaven it’s monstrous. One of the most worshipful things we can do is to praise God for blessings He has promised that we have not yet received. This has been such an encouraging spiritual practice for me that I’m eager to share it with you.
We can thank God for heaven even before we get there; we have Jesus’ word that He is preparing a place for us (John 14:2-3). Thanking God for heaven now floods our souls with joy that we don’t have to be afraid of death, and it reminds us that we don’t have to mistreat ourselves (like some medieval monks and nuns did) or work ourselves to exhaustion (as legalists do) to earn it. All of us will be amazed by our eternal comfort, but why not squeeze a little anticipatory joy out of that comfort just when we need it most—today?
Lisa and I spent the last several years trying to “catch up” on retirement; we did what financial planners tell you not to do—reduced our retirement contributions to pay for our kids’ college. We’re not anxious—God has been generous—but in the midst of normal concern about stock market volatility and unforeseen expenses, it brings such peace to thank God for Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” It’s appropriate to ask God to provide for us, but it’s even more appropriate to thank God that He will: “I praise You that I don’t have to worry about retirement. I thank You that You’ll get me through all the way to my death and even take care of my loved ones after I’m gone. You’ve anticipated everything I can’t so I can live with great peace and assurance. Thank You so much for that.”