The 2nd message I have been running smack dab into lately has been the need to praise God in the storm. (See last week’s post, “Walk on the Water,” for message #1.)
I have struggled with this message as well, but for a totally different reason. While the thought of walking on the water terrifies me, there is also an underlying excitement to it as I wonder about my future. What changes are ahead for me? What joys? What blessings? What if this turns out to be the step that leads to the fulfillment of a long-time dream? Then, again, what if it doesn’t?
However, praising God in the storm is right now. In this moment. While the heart is still broken. While the pain is still very intense. While the mind is still agonizing over the “why” question. While the pity-party banners are still flying, the noisemakers blaring and the ranting and raving at full volume. Stopping to praise just doesn’t come as naturally as maybe it should.
In pondering why that is, I’ve concluded that it’s because I’m afraid that doing so will be taken as sign of acceptance, of my being OK with what has happened. Yes, I know that if God allowed it, he did so for a reason and I need to allow him to stretch me and grow me in those sometimes painful ways. But praising during the process is hard to do when you’re still on the front lines, battling your less-than-desirable circumstances, fighting with every ounce of strength you have just to keep from going crazy.
However, I have caught myself on occasion humming, singing, or skipping a step even during these painful times. Which makes me wonder — what if I INTENTIONALLY set out to offer praise to God? To hum in response to his love and care for me? To sing in thankfulness to what he has done for me? To clap in joy over the blessings he has given me? To dance as I step out into the stormy waters of the unknown?
I have shared with many my testimony about trusting God during an especially difficult time in my life. Now I wonder if God isn’t trying to get me to not only trust him but to make the extra effort to set aside the time to intentionally focus on praise to him through those challenging times as well. To not only dwell on his word or journal our private times together, but to verbally speak or sing praises to him.
I don’t know what’s ahead — none of us ever really do. We dream our dreams, we make our plans. But, let’s face it, as much as we like to think we’re in control, we’re not. Hard times, rough circumstances, heart-breaking disappointments and mind-boggling moments of confusion are going to happen right alongside the unexpected joys and blessings.
So, I ask myself, what might happen if instead of throwing the pity-party, I intentionally throw God a praise and worship party? What might happen if instead of focusing on the hurt or the people who hurt me, I intentionally focus on God and the many blessings he has given me? What might happen if instead of continuing to rant and rave about a situation, I intentionally change my vocabulary into praise directed toward a God who understands me? What might happen if instead of stomping around the house, I fall to my knees in admiration to a God who knows my every step and still loves me?
What might happen? God would take center stage. And isn’t that as it should be?
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8:1)
“Sing to The Lord a new song; sing to The Lord, all the earth. Sing to The Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is The Lord and most worthy of praise.” (Ps. 96:1-4a)
“I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Ps. 57:9,10)
“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is The Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!” (Ps. 47:1,2)
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before The Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Ps 95:6,7)