Don’t Worry, Give Thanks
When I was young, I loved to listen to a song called “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. I loved this song, yet the lyrics had always given me a mystery in thought. The question I had was, “How can I not worry, and just be happy?”
Years later, I realized that the message was really, “Don’t Worry, and Give Thanks.” I don't just mean live life like a Dictator with world power. Sadly, some places have cruel political dictators, yet most people dictators rule harder on our lives and people don’t even realize. These dictators are called circumstances.
We allow these circumstances to control our lives and thus fear and anger come into our heart. Examples of these circumstances may be finances, relationships, illness, politics, parenting, personal health, fashion, church, conflict, travel, or retirement. Think of something that might make you feel powerless.
So what is the answer, you may ask?
In 2 Chronicles 20:10-30, there is a wonderful story I want to share. I begins with King Jesophaphat in Judah. God’s people once again faced difficult times, and were about to be invaded by forces from every direction. As King, the first counsel he took was with the Lord. He prayed. In his prayer, Jehoshaphat “reminded” the Lord of their history: how He had driven out their enemies in the past and given the land to Israel. He mentioned the promises God had made to the people, and their promises to God. Then he ended with a simple statement: “We do not know what to do.” “We look to You”.
At times, we all reach a place where we recognize we’re facing something bigger than ourselves – that we don’t know what to do. It is in these moments, we can say, “God, I can’t fix this, and don’t know how. But I look to you.” No matter what happens, we can be thankful – not because everything will work, but just because we can look to God.
Later in this story, a man named Jahaziel speaking from the Holy spirit told them not to be afraid, “for the battle is not yours, but God’s”. We are not able to solve every problem, but we can learn these things from Jahaziel’s words that day:
- Put away fear and discouragement (verse 15)
- Position yourselves and stand still (verse 17)
- Watch God at work
On the morning of the battle, the prayers of the people turned to praise and thanksgiving. Because they began offering thanksgiving to God in song before the battle even began with a choir at the front of the line of the army it had a two-pronged effect. The soldiers under Jehoshaphat heard the praise to God going before them to remind them the battle belonged to God. Second, the enemy heard praise to the One who stood with Judah. The enemies were defeated.
I wanted to end with the title “Don’t Worry, Have Faith”. Yet, to have that faith, we first need to give thanks. Giving thanks is a conscious decision. Yet, you can take an action of faith with no thoughts in your head.