It seems as though it should be impossible, lifting hands in praise when tears are falling in grief, but praise in pain is the most authentic form.
I have never see the goodness of God as clearly as while enduring the wickedness of the world, and I have never been as grateful for His presence as when I have been all alone.
Why is our view of God so often dependent on our circumstances? Why do we publicly laud our God when troubles are small and happiness is abundant, yet question His love when plans go awry? He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). He does not change, is always love. We should believe that He is loving more than we believe that the sun will rise, yet we question Him immediately if our way isn’t had.
The act of praise, choosing to acknowledge the might, goodness, and uniqueness of the Almighty, has supernatural power to enact change. Abandoning oneself in adoration and thanksgiving can bring peace and perspective shifts desperately needed when emotions cloud our vision like morning fog. Over and over in Scripture we are exhorted to life His name and praise Him continually.
“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts… Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created” (Ps. 148: 1-5).
If you have never seen David Platt recite these verses while speaking before pastors at the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention, you will be blessed by hearing.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Ps. 150:6).
In times when the breath has been knocked out of your spirit, praise Him. He will bring times of refreshing, pure oxygen to fill the lungs of your life.
When the storm rages all around and you’re sure you will be its next casualty, praise Him. He will say to that storm, as He has before, “Peace. Be still” (Mark 4:39).
When you’re working nonstop and your trial shows no lull, praise Him. He will whisper, “…know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). He is God, the One worthy of our thoughts, not the hurt, not the hurt-causer. ‘I am the God in your life, and I will not share your attention. Focus your heart, undivided, on Me.’
The power in our praise is beyond our ability to understand. When we speak the name of Jesus, things change. When we claim the promises of Scripture, Satan is defeated. Praise doesn’t just change our emotions – it changes our reality.
Nehemiah says, “…do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (8:10). How can joy be found when grief is so strong? By looking to the eternal good of God, not to the temporary bad of life.
It is only when human strengths and abilities fail that we are able to glimpse the strength of He who created all. It is only when we are utterly defeated and at a loss that we can be truly victorious and find real answers.
God is enthroned on the praises of His people, literally dwelling where His name is lifted (Ps. 22:3). When we praise even in the worst times imaginable, He is there. Praise does not just mask the sadness we feel; it brings God’s presence to us. It enables us to endure what feels unbearable; it enables us to see what otherwise we would ignore. Praise gives credit to He who sustains.
“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together” (Ps. 34:1-3).
I have learned what it is to praise "at all times," and I have been the afflicted who "hear and rejoice." My greatest prayer is that now, through His grace, you will "Glorify the Lord with me" and that we will "exalt his name together."