An Attitude of Gratitude


 In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15 (KJV)


What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
Psalm 56:3, 4 (KJV)


The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Power to Cope

Four part guide for handling stress, using Biblical principles

Part I - An Attitude of Gratitude

Abouth the middle of the 20th century, the medical profession began referring to our reactions to pressure as "stress." However, since the beginning of time, people have had to find ways to cope with stressful events in order to survive.
Psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as other health professionals, friends, and humorists, have all come up with techniques for managing stress. No one, however, wants to eliminate stress entirely, since some stressors are what make life exciting and challenging!

An Attitude of Gratitude

A source of special interest to researchers is the difference in the way one person copes compared with how another person does. It has been found that one characteristic frequently noted in those who handle stress well is gratefulness. Conversely, this attitude of gratitude is usually missing in those who buckle under pressures.

That is not a new discovery. In the sacred Scriptures, the oldest commonly accessible literary manuscripts, we read David's words. (You may want to look them up yourself.)

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
Psalm 56:3, 4 (KJV)

(verses marked KJV are from the King James version, and all others are from the New International Version)

The New International Version says:

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

In the verse quoted above, praise means gratitude and confidence in God. Evidently, in a frightening, stressful time when David was running for his life, he still chose to express gratitude and trust in God - in power outside himself. When David expressed confidence in God, his reaction of fear came under control so that he was able to deal with the situation confidently. He was not excessively anxious, nor did he pretend his problem did not exist. But he knew he had access to power above and beyond himself. He trusted God. You might say he knew God was his powerful Friend.

Read the entire poem David was inspired to write in Psalm 56. You'll hear him voicing joyful gratitude to God again in verse 10 and verbalizing his freedom from fear, on that basis, in verse 11.
In the Scriptures, those who trusted God often faced stress with praise and joy.

... neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10 (KJV)

At other times, God told those who faced stress that His strength was available to them as their confidence was expressed quietly.

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shell ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15

The New International Version reads: ... in quietness and trust is your strength.

Supernatural Power During Stress

Now, if it is true that strength from a Supernatural Power was available to human beings at the time the Scriptures were written, we wonder: Is that power available to us now, and, if so, how can we get it?

First, we need to decide whether we will believe that what is written in the Bible is inspired by God or not. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is inspired. This study guide accepts that premise.

If we accept the Scriptures as our point of reference, we then need to know if the God whom David and other biblical figures trusted is still alive. The apostle Paul was inspired to talk of the God who created at the beginning of time as being the Lord for whom we should be searching:

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. "For in him we live and move and have our being." As some of your own poets have said, "We are his offspring." Acts 17:24-28

If we accept the Scriptures as truly God's Word, then this Scripture quotation says that the very fact we are alive means that God Himself is alive, since our continued life is from Him. He, our Creator, sustains us.

This God whom we are describing said in Malachi 3:6 that He does not change. In 2 Chronicles 19:7 we're told He is fair and doesn't treat one person differently from another. Finally, He inspired the following assurance:

The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He willfulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. Psalm 145:18, 19 (KJV)

That is the loving promise of nearby help from God, available to anyone who asks or calls for it. Verse 4 of Psalm 145 talks of expressing gratitude to this God from one generation to another, which brings it down to us in the present time. Generations ago God gave promises of help in times of stress to people who asked. Evidently, since He is changeless, the principles behind those promises still apply when we ask now.

How Can I Get This Help?

But how does a person come to the point of trust and praise toward God? How can you trust someone you do not know?

As a start, you can choose to believe because He said so. In time, as you study His Word and claim His promises for yourself, you will come to see that He is your own trustworthy God - a powerful Friend!

Then, you can admit you have a need for help above and beyond yourself.

Next, ask God to help you. No memorized prayer is needed; put it in your own words, just as you would speak into a telephone to someone without seeing him.

Then "listen" to Him by reading His promises from Scripture.

Finally, thank Him for whatever special promise you are claiming at the moment. Thank Him that it is true and tell Him that you accept it for yourself. Have an attitude of gratitude toward Him.

As you accept your own human limitations and admit your need for strength beyond yourself, you will find that perhaps your greatest help in times of stress comes in knowing there is a God who loves you. You will realize that you are not alone--that His strength will see you through.

You have in your hands now a secret which has baffled many people for centuries. You have access to a power above and beyond yourself. God is speaking to you now through His promises. You will never be the same again, because you have power to cope - in a framework of praise. All you need to do is ask.

Powerful Promises of Peace from God

A public service of A Key Encounter
Dedicated to the memory of Merlin Kretschmar, Sr.