A Sacrifice! Wait… of what?

“Let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God.” – Heb. 13: 15

Have you ever heard that phrase before?

A sacrifice sounds like something I have to give up. It sounds like something that would have to be difficult for me to give up; it would have to hurt. It isn’t as easy as giving away an old t-shirt that I don’t want anyway.

Praise, on the other hand, sounds like something that we would give when someone does something well, like an affirmation or an encouragement for something positive.

But aren’t these two things polar opposites? Like black and white? Aren’t they mutually exclusive?! How are they in any way related??

God is asking us to offer Him something that will cost us, not so much in a monetary sense. He is inviting us to give Him something that is not going to be easy for us to give.

In this sense, God asks us to give Him praise, especially when we do not feel like it. And when would that be?

Well, when everything goes wrong, and you find out that “Murphy’s law” actually exists (not really)… after you studied hours for a test, but you wake up late on a rainy day, forget to bring your notes and finally miss the bus to school… I’m sure you can think of other similar examples.

It is exactly in those moments that God is asking us to offer up our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God.

But, wait... Why should I do that? I’m suffering here, and I should give thanks to God for that?

Well… yes!!

As ridiculous as it sounds, this is exactly what He wants us to do.
God is infinite, and He is Love. His plans are beyond ours, and His ways are beyond our ways. We will not always know what He has planned for us, but one thing’s for sure, it will always be for our good. The prophet Jeremiah (29: 11) writes, “’for surely I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord ‘plans for your welfare and not for harm, to you give a future with hope.’ “

Even in that moment of suffering, even in the moment of anger, even in the moment of embarrassment, give great thanks to our dearest Father in Heaven, for He is indeed giving you an opportunity to grow closer to Him. To grow, to mature, and to trust in Him. To acknowledge that, without God’s help and grace, we would fail. To acknowledge that we are really small... and that in all that we do, we need His help.

So praise God for burning that pasta. Praise God for the bus that you missed. Praise God for the rain that dirtied your shoes... These things do not matter anyway. Praise God for the high fever that you have, or the cough that you’ve been dragging along for the past week. Praise God for your not knowing yet where you’re going in life. Praise God for the break-up that you just had.

In all situations, praise God. Turn your heart back to him, give Him praise and ask, “Lord, Help me! What next?”