By Shawn McMullen
Recently my family and I received several remarkable answers to prayer. I don’t mean to imply that some of God’s answers to prayer are remarkable and others are not. I think it’s simply that the needs we took before the Lord were very important in our eyes, and that in every case—without exception—God granted our requests in ways that exceeded our expectations.
The faith of our family was stretched and strengthened. Our gratitude led to worship. Perhaps we felt some of the same emotions King David once felt.
Following years of hardship, David found himself firmly estab-lished as Israel’s ruler, settled into a beautiful palace, and at peace with neighboring nations. David wanted to express his gratitude and devotion to God by building a house for the ark. God responded to the king by explaining that David’s son would be the one to build the temple. At the same time, however, God promised to establish David’s house and throne forever—the greatest promise a king could hope for.
When he received the news,
King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, O Sovereign lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign lord?” (2 Samuel 7:18, 19, NIV 1984).
Feeling unworthy to receive the blessings that had been poured out on him, David responded to the Lord’s kindness with gratitude and awe. His example is convicting. It exposes the pride and selfishness that dull my appreciation of God’s goodness. It reminds me of the way I’ve come to expect health, strength, provision, and protection—regarding them as rightful possessions rather than gifts of God’s mercy. It makes me want to echo Jacob’s words to the Lord: “I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant” (Genesis 32:10).
Coming to terms with our unworthiness is not the goal, however. As it did for David, it should lead us to something better. The more unworthy we feel to receive God’s mercy, the more gratitude we should feel toward God for supplying it.
If you’re like most Christians, some days you don’t feel particularly blessed. You may even think God is working counter to your desires. That’s when we need to remember that if the only good thing God ever did for us—the whole of our lives—was to redeem our unworthy souls from Hell and give us the hope of Heaven, that alone should be sufficient reason to praise and serve him joyfully every day.
Seen this way, the only reasonable response to such a gracious God is one of “profound, adoring, awed respect.”
This editorial is adapted from one that first appeared in The Lookout on July 29, 2001.