Do You Know How to Praise Jesus in Every Season?
- Cindi McMenamin Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2015 20 Mar
My 3-year-old nephew, Escher, said the prayer for our breakfast just as we were about to enter Disneyland Park.
"Dear Disneyland Jesus,
Thank you for this day. Thank you for this food. Please keep us safe and healthy.
Escher's mom had told me earlier that he began praying to "Dinosaur Jesus" after spending a day at the "Walking with Dinosaurs" exhibit and being enthralled with his new discovery. Dinosaurs became one of his favorite toys and Jesus became known in their house, as "Dinosaur Jesus." And each time he learned that his Auntie Cindi and Cousin Dana would be taking him into Disneyland again, his prayers were directed once again to "Disneyland Jesus."
I couldn't help but smile and think that little Escher was simply transferring the excitement of the blessing he was about to experience to the Blesser who was making it possible. I commented to his mom shortly after, "I love that Escher knows Jesus is Lord of the dinosaurs and Lord over Disneyland, as well!!"
Okay, call me one to spiritualize everything, but Little Escher's prayer got me thinking.
How easy it is for us, like a child, to pray to "Disneyland Jesus" - the giver of all good things - when we have an exciting day ahead of us. How wonderful, also, to pray to "Dinosaur Jesus" - who allows us the adventure of discovering new things. But how we, as adults, struggle in the not-so-exciting times, in the downright painful times, to pray "Dear Heartache Jesus" or "Dear Cancer Jesus" or "Dear Death-of-a- Loved One Jesus." On days when we are facing loneliness, or more chemotherapy, or trying to get through the day after we've lost our job, it's difficult to even pray at all.
And yet, Jesus is Lord over the disappointing days as well as the Disneyland days.
Scripture says "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows," (James 1:17). That verse doesn't mean that only the "good and perfect gifts" in our eyes (like Disneyland trips and grand adventures) are from God. But everything he allows into my life (including disappointment and pain) is a good and perfect gift, coming from my Father of insight and understanding who knows what is ultimately best for me.
Every situation that occurs in my life, good or bad, is a gift when I remember that I have a heavenly Father whose intention is to make me more like Christ. Scripture tells us "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). And the next verse tells us HOW all things (even the difficult things) are gifts. "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son...."
There it is. God wants to make you and me more like Jesus in whatever we encounter. And therefore, whatever we encounter is ultimately a gift from our Heavenly Father who is doing a transforming, perfecting work in us if we will acknowledge that he is in control and we are his to do with as he pleases.
I'll be the first to admit that it's difficult to pray to "Job loss Jesus" or "Heartache Jesus" or - as my prayer has been lately, on behalf of my Step Dad - "Alzheimer's Jesus." But somehow it is reassuring, as well, because I am acknowledging in the good times and the bad, in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, that he is Lord of all.
God, restore to me a simple, childlike faith that honors you as Lord over every good and exciting experience. And refine that faith to honor you and delight in you just as much because you are Lord over every hurtful experience, too.
Thank you for the Disneyland trips, the dinosaur discoveries, and the disappointments in life, as well. Thank you that just as you hear the prayer of a delighted boy about to make new discoveries, you see the tears of a disappointed heart about to learn to trust you more.
Can you thank your "Dear All-Knowing, All-Loving Jesus" for whatever he brings into your life today? Trust that as you walk into it, he is right there walking into it before you.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold), God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart, and her newest, When God Sees Your Tears. For more on her ministry or for free resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, or walk with God, see her website: www.strengthforthesoul.com
Publication date: March 20, 2015