Offerings of Praise and Heartache

“Offer right sacrifices,
    and put your trust in the Lord.”

  • Psalm 4:5

This past Christmas, my 4-year-old son wanted to buy a gift for me. At this age, he does not earn money for chores, and yet, he needed money to purchase a gift for me. So, I gave him the money he needed, took him to the store, let him pick out the gift, “didn’t see it” when he hid it in the cart, and allowed him to complete the transaction with my eyes closed at Target. It was incredibly sweet to see his eyes light up when I opened the pack of superhero stickers on Christmas morning. But the reality is, he would have had nothing to give to me, if I hadn’t given to him first.

And that’s the way it is with God – everything that we have comes from Him (James 1:17). Let me say that again: everything that we have comes from God – this includes the plentiful material blessings and the lack thereof, the vibrant health and the lack thereof, the thriving marriage and the lack thereof, your giftings/talents and lack thereof, time and lack thereof, and all other abundances and lacks of which you can think (Lam 3:37-38).

I am reminded of the verse from James, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” I think the gifts and circumstances in our lives can fit broadly into these two categories, for they either bring us happiness and contentment or unfulfillment and heartache. Regardless of where it falls, we are to bring it to God as an offering. In other words, we are to give it back to God as a sacrifice – whether by praise or prayer. For this is, as Psalm 4:5 states, is a right sacrifice.

Psalm 50:23 states, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me. The Lord is glorified when what we give to him is thanksgiving. It shows that we recognize that the gift or circumstances came from him and not from or of ourselves. It also shows a heart posture of gratitude magnifying His goodness, love, provision, and generosity.

Psalm 51 stands in contrast to Psalm 50, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” God’s compassion is on display in the latter part of the verse, he will not despise us if all we have to offer is a heart full of sadness, grief, and despair. He wants the sorrow and pain just as much as he wants the gratitude. Moreover, we can take heart that we have a God who is not only near the broken hearted (Ps 34:18), but also “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps 147:3). So, whatever is troubling you, weighing you down, breaking your heart, you can offer that back to God. He won’t be angry with you, or scorn you, or detest you, rather, he will be near to you and heal you.

Thus, Psalms 50 and 51 offer contrasting pictures of what sacrifices please the Lord and yet together they comprehensively display the breadth of what emotional offerings glorify him. How wonderful it is that we have a Heavenly Father who accepts and delights in both offerings.

Regardless of whether your offering is full of thanksgiving or heartbreak, when you bring to him, it demonstrates that you have put your trust in the Lord (Ps 4:5), for it shows that your hands are open, and heart is willing to see him complete the good work for which he began in you (Phil 1:6). Whatever it is that your heart is full of today, give it to God. Trust that He will take care to lead you steadily by His love (Ps 23). I am reminded of the beautiful promise found in Zephaniah that the Lord is our God, and he is near; that he will rejoice over you and will quiet you by his love (3:17).

Prayer: take time to praise the Lord for the many blessings for which you are grateful and/or pour out your heartache to him.


  1. What in your life brings you happiness and contentment? Take time to thank and praise the Lord for those. Further, ask the Holy Spirit to help you to offer those fully back to him.
  2. What in your life is weighing you down or breaking your heart? Make a lift of what grieves you. Give those to God. Meditate on Psalms 34, 147, and 51.
  3. Which gifts from the Lord are hard for you to give or offer back to him? Take time to ponder why that is. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to trust him greater.

Hymn to Sing: I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

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