Praising God Amid Disappointment

At church last Sunday, my little sister stood in front of the small group of children she was teaching in Kids Church. Next to her was a white paper bag sitting on a black stool, and young boy who had volunteered to participate on stage.

The big idea for our lesson this week was that God desires us to humbly put others above ourselves (Galatians 5:14, Philippians 2:3). With that, we chose talking about Abraham and Lot, where Abraham gave Lot the better, greener, lush land while Abraham took the rocky dirt area of land (Genesis 13), but before explaining all of that to the children in attendance, my sister wanted to show selfishness though the contents of her white paper bag.

Inside the bag, she pulled out a broken slinky, a container of Orbeez, a freshly sharpened pencil, a mangled broken pencil, a half-eaten Oreo, and some uneaten wrapped candy. She kept the good items for herself and gave the broken items to her little volunteer.

Now, my sister was following a plan written down on the notes in front of her. She practiced the lesson just 15 minutes prior and has never had a skill with ad libbing or going with the flow when a conversation doesn’t go the way you planned.

She had expected a little disappointment in the volunteer, or some laughs in the crowd as she handed the broken items over. She did not expect the volunteer to be so overjoyed with what he received. As he was happily playing with the broken slinky, a genuine smile on his face, my sister struggled to figure out what to do next. Naturally, she decided to continue following her lesson notes.

“How come you’re so upset?” she asked the overjoyed boy.

“I’m not upset. My mom taught me to be thankful and grateful for what I get. I love what you gave me,” the volunteer replied.

I had to interject at this point to help my sister since her volunteer’s unexpected reply was met with complete and utter silence for several seconds. We went on to acknowledge our volunteer’s good attitude & eventually brought around to our planned topic.

However, I wanted to share on here what this young boy said because I am in awe and joyful over his response.

How do we respond when we’re given ridiculous gifts at Christmas? Or when a restaurant gets our order wrong? Or when we’re expecting God to give us what we’ve been asking for, and He offers the opposite?

In Psalm 9, it says “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart…”

Psalm 147:7 says, “Sing to the Lord with grateful praise…”

There’s often a phone number or email address for companies to address complaints in products or services. Complaining is a worldly thing, cultural even. Gratitude is a God thing. Thankfulness is what we’re called to. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could whine and complain about everything that’s wrong with our lives. He died so we could rejoice in eternity with Him.

This week, instead of pointing out all the negatives in a situation, let’s try to find the positives. Thank God for even the worst moments. Very often when I’m having a rough day, or I had to slam on my brakes due to a unskilled driver in front of me, I say out loud, “Praise the Lord.” I repeat this until the negative feelings inside me disappear. It’s always worked out for me so far.

Let’s praise the Lord today and every day, every moment of our lives. Say it with me:

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Published by Samantha Sali

Image-bearer. Jesus-seeker. Wife. Mother. Writer. Artist.

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