It’s easy to praise God when life is going well.
When you sign final papers on the dream home
When the bank account is full
When your children are healthy and succeeding
But what about when it’s not going so well?
This morning in church I sat behind a man who, less than seven days ago, said his final goodbyes to his wife of over 20 years.
As the service began, I watched as he comforted his teary-eyed daughter; the same daughter with whom I stood beside a week ago, praying to God for a miracle, for just one breath to prove the doctors wrong. She had stood, stroking her mother’s silver hair and praying faith-filled words… but now she’s left with a gaping hole in her life that Mama used to fill.
As the worship music carried through the auditorium I watched this man clap. Sing. Raise his hands.
Tears rolled out of the corners of my eyes.
You see, I’ve had a relatively good week. My house passed an important test, I welcomed my husband home safely from a work trip, and we celebrated our baby girl’s third birthday.
Yes, my heart broke for that family, and I mourned the loss of this woman who greatly impacted me and my children’s lives. But If I’m honest, it was still pretty easy for me to walk into church with a smile on my face and lift my hands in worship to God for all that He has done…
But certainly there have been other times that have not been so easy.
When my dreams were dashed
When the bank account was “insufficient”
When my prayers were left unanswered
Those seasons of despair—where I could hardly lift my head, let alone my hands—those were the times of testing.
Do I really trust God?
Do I really trust that He is good, even through this storm?
Do I really trust that He loves me, even though I can’t feel it right now?
Do I really trust that He has a plan, even though I can’t see it?
Because if I do, then He is still worthy of my praise.
Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise…”
A sacrifice costs you something.
Praise in the midst of pain costs us our feelings, our opinions, and our desires. It elevates the truth of who God is above what we can see.
It elevates the name of Jesus above our circumstances. And it is through His name that we can do this because of the victory He won when He came barreling out of the tomb after three days.
This is where the rubber hits the road: When our faith is tested in the fires of trial, and we see what comes out on the other end.
When life isn’t going “our way” or tragedy inevitably strikes, will we turn from God in anger, or will we run to Him lifting up our hands as a sacrifice of praise to say, God, I don’t really understand, but I know that you are good?
The answer lies in who we believe God is: is He a harsh dictator who punishes us when we don’t walk exactly in line with His will, or is He the loving, faithful Father that the Bible says He is?
Friend, I don’t know what season you’re in, but I can tell you from experience that no matter what mess you find yourself in, yes, God still loves you. No matter what valley you are walking through, yes, He is still good. And no matter how deep your disappointment, yes, He still has an incredible plan for your life.
My challenge to you is that whatever season you’re in, whatever pain you’re facing today, throw your hands up and raise your voice as an act of sacrifice of praise, remembering that He is good and faithful and trustworthy through it all.
This sacrifice, from a heart passionately in pursuit of God, is good and pleasing in His sight.
Word of the Day
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise… (Hebrews 13:15)
Father, I am facing so much right now; it’s so overwhelming. I’m weary and in pain. But, Father, I lift my hands to You today to say that I believe with all my heart that You are still good, still loving, and still trustworthy. I lay my feelings and desires at Your altar and give You permission to have Your perfect way in my life. Thank You that You are my Comforter and my Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
In honor of Julie A. Harrison, 1968-2016
Author: Katie Gibson