Today, we begin a series entitled, “Praising God When Life Hurts.”
Life can be painful. Really painful.
Loved ones pass. Illness strikes. Children stray. Homes foreclose. Vehicles break down. Finances fail. Jobs are lost. And, bad days happen!
Really, there’s no end to the list of scenarios that can make us feel broken.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus was speaking to His disciples when He said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (emphasis mine)
In other translations, “take heart” is worded, “be of good cheer” and “take courage.”
Jesus knew we would encounter trials. He knew we’d experience suffering so great, we’d wonder how we were going to make it. He foresaw us falling to our knees and crying out for help. Yet, in love He said, “take heart.”
So, what does it mean to take heart? Taking heart is exercising courage in the face of adversity. It’s choosing to fix our thoughts on what’s positive over the negative (our trial).
One powerful way we can “take heart” is to speak praises to our Lord.
Hebrews 13:15 instructs us, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” (emphasis mine)
What is a sacrifice of praise? It’s choosing to praise God even when our circumstances aren’t conducive. It’s intentionally deciding to focus on God’s goodness and grace no matter how we feel. It’s praising Him whether we are joyful or filled with sorrow, because He is worthy of our praise.
When we give God praise, miracles happen. Our focus shifts from our situation to the One who is in control of every situation. We are reminded of how majestic, powerful and loving God is. Ultimately, our environment is transformed by the presence of God; for God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3)
If praising God in the midst of your trial seems difficult, start with speaking the following verses out loud. Then, as your heart begins to connect with His, freely tell Him how good, sovereign, loving and faithful He is.
- “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” Psalm 63:3-4 (NIV)
- I love you, LORD; you are my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. Psalm 18:1-3
- The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted! Psalm 18:46
- Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May Your glory shine over all the earth. Psalm 108:5
- You are my God, and I will praise You! You are my God, and I will exalt You! Psalm 118:28
Over the next few weeks, some of my favorite writers are going to join us to talk about “Praising God When Life Hurts.” I hope you will come along on this journey with us. At any time, if God speaks to you or you have a testimony about praising God when life has hurt, please share it with us. Together, we will learn from one another and grow closer to our Lord.
Blessings to you, my friends!