There have been times when choosing to praise God in spite of something traumatic happening in my life brought healing. It may not have come at the very instant I made the choice to speak or sing something to God, but it came. For some reason, when you force yourself to shift your thinking away from pain, disappointment, discouragement, fear, or worry – if only for a moment – to proclaim the things you know to be true, it’s as if God cuts a slit in the dark shroud that’s suffocating you and allows a shaft of brilliant hope to shine in. Courage grows, freedom shows it’s beautiful face again. When we say or think, “God is still the God He was before” or “God is still on the throne” or “He never changes, He is still faithful, He still cares about me” or any number of truths like these we’re taking a step toward Him, putting ourselves out there, with arms reaching forward in faith. We’re waiting for Him to make the next move and pull us closer, to refine us, to beautify us, to do a miracle and somehow bring something good out of something completely awful. Sometimes we have no idea how any good can come out of what we’re facing, but we trust. We praise.
I guess that’s the ticket – when we praise in spite of circumstances we are proclaiming our faith. We are saying “I still believe, God. I don’t feel You, I don’t see You. I don’t hear You right now. But I’m choosing to believe that You’re still good and You’re still there. You’re still God.” The Bible tells us many times that faith pleases God. In fact, it tells us that without faith you cannot please Him. Many of his people in the Old Testament, before Jesus came to save them from sin, were justified simply because they had faith.
Choosing to praise in pain or any trial also gets our eyes off of ourselves and back onto Jesus and the purpose He has for us. We can begin moving forward rather than being stuck knee-deep in sinking sand or muck.
I watched a video today of a worship leader from the Hillsong Church in Australia who endured a terrible disappointment and loss, yet chose to praise God. Watch it and let God speak to your heart. Listen to the lyrics of the song, too. This has become my new favorite.