I love a decisive verb, and when it appears in the setting of a solid, declarative sentence? Well, so much the better.
When autumn rolls around my mind returns to the pronouncements in Isaiah 12, because I studied and memorized it in the season of bright leaves and stiff breezes. The prophet’s bracing words stood up to the fading light here on the far edge of the Eastern Time Zone, and the chapter begins with a pronouncement of the future words of God’s people:
You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; For the LORD God is my strength and my song, And He has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:1-2.
By making the choice to praise God in my present circumstances, I participate in the fulfillment of biblical prophecy! Furthermore, if I need prompting, Isaiah provides plenty of basis for my gratitude:
- In Christ, God’s wrath over my sin has been turned away;
- I am given comfort and a basis for trust rather than fear;
- I find that the LORD God Himself is “my strength and song.” A search on Bible Gateway.com yielded four other occurrences of that melodious pairing, bringing to mind the song that Moses sang with the people of Israel when they were delivered from the Egyptians after the Red Sea crossing.
For the past four years, I have been trusting for grace everyday to write down three reasons for thanksgiving. Before Thanksgiving Day, I expect that I will have recorded my five thousandth gift, but there are days when I need to dig into the promises of Scripture in order to put my pen on the line and write down a positive thought. When I make the choice to be purposeful in my gratitude, I am receiving a gift that is offered to me through the Gospel.
Isaiah wrote about a salvation he did not yet see, and I, too, write about a deliverance that is incomplete. In a world where young friends get cancer, where red tomatoes succumb to blight before harvest, and where my own harsh words cut the people I love, I pray for the coming of a kingdom where God’s will is done — perfectly.
In the meantime, by giving thanks today, I bring the bookends of already and not-yet just a little bit closer together in my world. So when I read and struggle to memorize Isaiah’s words — getting the “in that day” in the right place and using the right conjunctions — part of my song is always a prayer:
Oh, Lord, let today be THAT DAY in which I give thanks to you. Yes — on earth as it is in heaven. Today.