Costly Praise And Thanksgiving (Zacharias T. Fomum)
Example of difficult circumstances under which costly praise must flow forth to our sovereign Lord and God
When you fail an examination, the failure might have been permitted by the Lord so that the following good may come onto you and so make you more like Jesus:
To humble your proud heart and help you to become humble, since God resists the proud of heart. All that will help a proud person to become humble is good for the person.
To save you from trouble. Because you failed the examination, you might have to repeat a class. This means that you cannot go abroad as soon as you would have gone. This delay means that you might have been protected from a fatal accident, or from meeting someone to whom you might have been emotionally attracted to your ruin, or from being taught by people who would have ruined your faith and caused you to backslide.
To cause you to meet someone you would not have met, and whom meeting would help you to know the Lord more, love Him more and serve Him more.
To cause you to see that you were lazy, repent of it and put on the spirit of hard work which will revolutionize the rest of your life and bring you to a top position academically whereas, had you had an average pass, you would have gone on to be an average person for the rest of your life.
To cause you to lead someone to the Lord, while repeating your class, who will one day bless your ministry in an exceptional way or who will one day become your life partner.
To cause you to become understanding with people who work very hard and fail, and thus develop a ministry of compassion to those who are suffering from one hardship or another.
To cause you to see that the glory of this world is no glory at all, and then to begin to seek the glory that comes from above.
To cause you to bring the Lord Jesus into your studies. It could be that before you failed the examination, you had confidence in your own intelligence. The failure has made you realize that your own intelligence will fail you. You, therefore, need God-given intelligence. You, therefore, ask the Lord Jesus for wisdom and, by so doing, lean on Him for everything in all of the future. This is worth any price paid.
When your father, mother, brother, son or daughter dies after believing in the Lord. This death has been permitted by the Lord for one of the following reasons or for another reason which we are not going to cite, but which is for the best interest of the person and those of his who love the Lord Jesus and are called according to His purpose. This death will cause the person and his to be like Jesus in that the following blessings are in store:
The Lord has seen that the person has attained his maximum spiritual height and that it is good for him to go and meet his Lord at that level, so as to receive the best reward from the Lord.
The person has developed well spiritually, but as the Lord looked into the future, He saw that if he continued to live, he would backslide and fall into temptation and either ruin his spiritual life completely or mar it extensively. In order not to have the person suffer such loss, the Lord took him away so as to save him from spiritual harm.
The Lord saw that if the person continued to live, he would catch an incurable disease that would cause him untold pain and trouble, with no real spiritual advantages. In order to save him from such agony, the Lord took him to Himself to spare him pain for his own good.
The Lord saw that if he continued to live, he would fall into sin that would ruin his family and all those who love him. In order to save his family from ruin, the Lord decided to take him to Himself, instead of allowing him to continue to live and so ruin the family.
The Lord saw that if he continued to live, he might become sick with an incurable disease that would drain family funds, love and care and leave a crushing burden on multitudes in the family, who will each not be able to fulfil the call of God on their lives. Take, for example, a father who is blind, deaf and paralysed in the legs and who stays in this condition for forty years. It could mean that the ministries and careers of the people of that home are altered and damaged beyond measure, since the family will know drain in all areas for those forty years! Because the Lord saw this, he decided to take the person home to Himself.
The Lord saw that if the person continued to live, he might oppose a marriage of one member of the family (a marriage that is very much in the centre of God’s will) and that this would lead to a marriage outside the will of God that would leave disastrous results for generations. Out of love for the family up to the third and forth generation, the Lord decided to save the situation by taking him to Himself. This can only be a good death for which the Lord should receive praise and thanksgiving.
The Lord saw that if he continued to live, he would depart from the Lord and originate a Godless, Christless religion, which would spread and cause many to go to the lake of fire. God, out of His love for multitudes, took him in order to save him and all whom he would have led astray.
Your car is stolen.
Your car is hit by another.
Your car is involved in an accident that will take money to repair.
Your house catches fire.
Your car catches fire and burns to ashes.
Your friend betrays you.
Your certificates are lost.
Your bank goes bankrupt.
There is drought in your country.
There is a plague in your city.
Your boss is immoral.
Your boss is a thief.
Your boss hates you.
Your boss prefers another to you.
Your boss always gives you more work than he gives to others and yet he does not compensate you for it.
The police want a bribe from you.
The government is corrupt.
The government is dishonest.
The government lacks vision.
There is a shortage of jobs.
Salaries have been decreased.
The currency has been threatened with devaluation.
The currency has been devalued.
You are told that you have cancer.
You are told that your son has AIDS.
You are told that your wife will never conceive.
You are told that you are sterile.
You are told that you have been thrown out of your job.
You have been involved in a train accident.
The food has got burnt.
The lights have failed.
The gas runs out just as you are half-way through with the cooking.
Your shirt has been destroyed in the process of ironing.
Your last coins are stolen.
Your note books have been stolen or lost one week to the final examination.
Your daughter has fallen to the ground with the food she was bringing to you, and she has bruises.
You have lost your keys.
Your wife has misplaced your keys and you are almost late for work.
Your husband has run away with another woman.
Your wife has run away with another man.
Your husband has brought in another woman as a second wife.
Your husband has been caught in the act of stealing.
Your child has stolen your money.
Your child has stolen money from someone else.
Your secretary has typed your name wrongly.
A neighbour’s cattle have broken into your maize farm and are grazing in it.
Your wife disobeys you.
Your wife insults you.
Your husband tells you that you are ugly.
Your husband tells you that he has found another woman who is better than you.
Your baby is born deformed.
An unbeliever dies.
Why and how can one honestly thank God for the death of an unbeliever? Well, the Lord says that we should give thanks in everything and in all circumstances. This must include this one. What good can come out of the death of an unbeliever for himself and for those who are his? Why did God permit it and why should He be thanked for it? Below are some good things that could result from the death of an unbeliever:
The unbeliever might have hardened his heart to the point where God had given him up. So with respect to salvation, there is no hope for him, even if he were to live for another one hundred years. Having lost all the opportunities offered him to believe, the benefits that come from his death must be seen from another perspective and not from that of his own salvation.
His unbelief might have provoked God to judge him most severely, so that he might be plagued with an incurable disease. This would have meant that he would have started suffering in this life and to continue to suffer in the lake of fire. God, out of mercy and love for him, decided to let him die in order to avoid the physical suffering in this life. God should be thanked for that act of sparing him physical suffering.
His unbelief might have led to the unbelief of one or more people. The Lord, therefore, out of love for those people, decided to remove the one who would have caused them to fall out of the way. The Lord should be thanked for that death that opened the way for the salvation of others.
He might have fallen sick with a dreadful disease that would have changed the course of many lives that are associated with him - change that would have been disastrous. God, out of love for the man’s people, decided that he should die before he ever became a problem. He should be thanked for that.
Someone curses you. When someone curses you, you should, in that circumstance, give thanks to the Lord for everything. David saw this clearly. The Bible says, “As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the King’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, ‘Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood that you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood!’ Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.’ But the king said, ‘What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ’Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’ David then said to Abishai and all his officials, ‘My son, who is my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjaminite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.’
So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself” (2 Samuel 16:5-14).