Praising God when things are going well seems the right thing to do. But when my world seems to be shattered, praising God can feel unnatural. And so it is.
This is why God rejoices when I do it, and my life is transformed in the process.
There's no doubt that the Word instructs me to keep on praising the Lord—no matter what my circumstances are like.
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1 KJV
What a challenge this has been in my Christian life. Too often I want to "bless the LORD" with my praise only when all seems right with my world.
When it feels to my near-sighted soul that He has withdrawn His blessings from me–such as when tragedy or trouble comes–I want to withdraw my praise.
The course in the midst of troubles has too often been: I will praise Him when things get better—when He is blessing me again.
The truth is God never stops blessing me. Every day and every moment of the day He pours His grace on me. He helps me through my troubles—if I'm willing to receive that help. His love for me does not change—even though my circumstances may.
Praises can cease when I start judging God– accusing Him of bringing calamity to my life for all sorts of unholy reasons. The truth is God remains holy and righteous through every season of my life. His view of me does not change just because I think it does or because the way I see Him becomes skewed. He is not punishing me through trials just because my wayward soul determines it is so.
When tragedy struck on February 28, 2012 due to the suicide of my brother, there was a part of me that wanted to stop praising God. How can I praise a God who refused to intervene to save this precious life? But those thoughts were short-lived as I determined to stay in praise no matter what my emotions told me.
As I have stayed in the Word—especially in the Psalms—I've been reminded that God is deserving of all my praise. Praise the Lord! I've recalled all He has brought me through. Praise the Lord! I've recollected how at times He has carried me when I've felt too weak to go on—both in this tragedy and in the midst of calamities in the past. Praise the Lord!
Not only do I praise God for His faithfulness in days gone by and in my present struggles, but I also praise Him for His promise to be faithful in the future. I feel excited about what He is going to do next to continue to bring good out of this latest heartbreak as He has done with every challenge in my life.
I'm still going through the valley of grief. February is hard because it's my brother's birthday. Suddenly at times I've felt overwhelmed with guilt and anger again. Guilt over not doing more to reach out and encourage. Anger over the devil's taunts that he has won the victory in this tragedy.
When I look at what has happened from God's perspective, I see Him bringing triumph from tragedy. Hearts are being drawn closer to Him and to each other. I've never felt closer to the Lord.
My heart echoes what David said in Psalm 43:5
…for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (NIV)
Will you say and do the same?
Copyright © 2013 Elaine Creasman, used by permission.