Yesterday I rode a Gold Wing motorbike for about six hours between Pasco and Snohomish, Washington. I usually cherish riding time because it gives me uninterrupted opportunity to ponder, pray, and praise. But yesterday’s experience was different. I pondered alright, but my thoughts sent me careening down a road shadowed with worry about a situation I’m currently facing. As the miles passed, my angst about this situation grew. I knew I had to do something and do it quick or fear and anxiety would consume me.
Past experience has taught me that praise is a powerful force when fighting fear. And so I put my head-knowledge into practice. I praised God for being sovereign in all (not merely some) circumstances. I praised Him for being wise, and for being faithful, and for being merciful. I praised Him for His strength and for His unfailing love. I also praised Him for redeeming our mistakes and turning them into something useful and good when we love Him. The result? Peace washed over me, slowly replacing my angst with a calm assurance that God was in control and I could rest in Him.
Praise isn’t a natural or easy response when messing with negative emotions. It takes effort and discipline to lasso and corral one’s thoughts. It requires deliberate action to turn them around and to focus them on the Truth of God’s promises. The effort is worth it, for then and then alone is when peace is restored.
Psalm 35:9,10 describe how I felt yesterday upon making that effort: “Then I will rejoice in the LORD. I will be glad because he rescues me. With every bone in my body I will praise him: “LORD, who can compare with you?”
Fear’s weight lifted from my shoulders. I was finally able to relax and enjoy the ride and the beautiful scenery through which we passed. As we rounded a bend in the road to see majestic and snow-capped Mt. Rainer towering in the distance, I thought of God – the One who spoke it into being – and my heart sang, “Lord, who can compare with you? Surely I can trust You with every circumstance of my being.”
Today the same fear threatens to engulf me again. But I refuse to let it harm me. I’m rejecting its force by applying the power of praise as I did yesterday. There’s a battle raging, but praise will ultimately win.
Can you relate? What insights can you share with us about applying the power of praise when you feel afraid?