I used to think of the term 'Sacrifice of praise' as an offering of praise. Sacrifices on the altar were traditionally gifts, or offerings that someone brought to God. It was often the best they had to bring.
But I've recently been thinking of it in terms of praise to God being costly.
I've never been a "It's all good!" type of person.
Or even a, dare I say it, "God is good all the time" kind of person either.
I know He is. Of course He is.
But to try to express it at times when my world has been falling apart is unhelpful at best, and impossible at worst.
Yesterday, however, I had a message from a lovely Christian gentleman. He's very well known in Salvation Army circles, but we'd only recently had direct contact from him, following our losses. He'd written a poem about grace. It was beautiful. But as I read it, it got harder and harder to read and accept. When I mentioned this to him, he wrote this...
"If I don't say this well, please forgive me but, just make gratitude part of your grief. Be glad of the pain because the pain is the result of your loss of a most precious and unique relationship. Without that quality of relationship you would be much less than you are... Try and let your grief and gladness walk with you into the days ahead... Without any shallow sentimentality or gauche unnaturalness, your lovely Dad is part of who you are. A healthy, God-honouring influence, helping you to a maturity of faith that is a reward of exceeding value..."
The truth is I am so, so grateful for the love of my parents. I have taken it for granted, but I do know how fortunate I have been to grow up in a family where love is so freely expressed. The pain of loss is the price we pay on earth for loving and being loved so much.In turn I am able to share the love I have known, in my relationships with my husband and my sons. Our family is not perfect, but we know how to love.
So that's my sacrifice of praise for now.
I thank God for the gift of love... The love of our family and friends, that is totally encompassed by the love He has for us.
My prayer is found in an old hymn:
Finish, then, Thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
I believe that Dad is now lost in wonder, love and praise.
I long for the day that we all are too.
But in the meantime I'll rest in God's arms as he shows me how to make my sacrifice of praise.