Many months ago, God answered a prayer…just not in the way I had hoped. And like a spoiled child on Christmas morning who doesn’t get the exact toy they wanted, I all but threw it back in His face. I was frustrated that He didn’t give me precisely what I wanted and that His answer to my prayer had put me in an unpleasant and not-so-ideal situation.
I spent many days reflecting on the stress and subsequent misery in which I felt He had put me. I could find no joy and had nearly allowed bitterness to set in. I complained, I cried, I worried, etc, etc, etc. But the one thing I didn’t do during this period of time? I didn’t praise Him. How could I find the time to praise Him when my mind was so occupied with myself and how miserable I was? It shames me to say that praising Him was the last thing on my mind.
You see, like so many of us tend to do, I temporarily forgot that my life is not about me–I forgot that I live and breathe to glorify Him. And while I knew that where I am was exactly where He wanted me to be, I didn’t particularly care for the fact that it wasn’t all too pleasant or joy-inducing. Then I thought about Paul and the disciples. How many times did they find themselves imprisoned or beaten? I would say those were some of the most unpleasant situations in which anyone could find themselves. And yet they still praised God. Not because they enjoyed being in chains or being smacked around and bloodied up, but because they knew that God deserved their praise. They worshipped Him in the midst of their misery because of who He is. In fact, Paul viewed his suffering as reason to rejoice.
We should never let our circumstances dictate if, when, or how we praise Him. We should praise Him for one reason and one reason alone: because He is worthy. He is the Creator of the Universe, the Author of life, the King of glory, the Source of love, the Beginning and the End and everything in between–He deserves to be worshipped! I don’t want to be one of those Christians that only praises Him when He gives me what I want or when everything in life is rosy; I want to praise Him everyday, regardless of my circumstances.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” Psalm 105: 1-3