“Let all that I am praise the Lord,” says Psalm 104:35.
“That’s easier said than done,” says me.
I recall several of the biggest challenges I’ve faced/am facing:
- Being separated from my newborn daughter when she was flown from Nepal to the US for surgery. International airlines refused to issue me a ticket, saying I was a medical high risk after having had a C-section.
- Being in Hungary for ministry when my dad died back in Canada, and not being able to return for his funeral.
- Being in Poland for ministry when my father-in-law died in the US, and not being present to comfort our kids at the loss of a third grandparent within three years.
- Moving several times – uprooting our kids, saying goodbye to family and friends, and starting all over again.
- Having hopes dashed by publishers’ and editors’ rejection letters.
- Dealing with the constant pain of arthritic spurs in my neck.
My human nature is prone to whine when facing tough stuff. It likes sympathy. It relishes attention and the words, “Oh, you poor thing.” In a warped way, it enjoys wallowing in self-pity. But Scripture challenges me to a higher plane.
“Let all that I am praise the Lord,” it says. It offers no exception clause, and it encompasses every part of my being. Let all that I am praise the Lord, not just a part of me. Every day, no matter what befalls, I’m to immerse myself in the practice of praise even when my emotions would rather wet only my big toe. Believe me, I’ve had lots of opportunities to put this verse to the test.
What happens when you and I praise the Lord with our whole being, especially when we don’t feel like it? Our focus moves from our challenges to His character. From our woes to His eternal will. From our insufficiency to His sufficiency. God changes our entire perspective, and we find inner strength and renewal to face whatever comes our way, because, after all, He dwells in the praises of His people. Transformation is guaranteed when God’s on site.
And so, I’ll continue praising with every part of me even when tempted to do otherwise. How about you?
Question: What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve ever faced, and how did practicing praise make a difference in your outlook?