This is really difficult to do
It is a challenge to praise God during your hardships. Life is hard. When it starts to rain, how do we respond?
I’ve been fighting depression for about a year now. Things seem horrible even when they aren’t. I’m a homicide survivor. Maybe that was the trigger. I am living apart from my wife and family. Maybe that’s it.
Read More: My Son was Murdered by his Mother
I know that there is a God. I know He wants the best for me. I know that He answers prays according to His will. He doesn’t always give us what we pray. When He does not, it is because He has a good reason. We may not know the reason until later. We may not know the reason until we go to heaven.
I want my story to help at least one other person out there. I have faith that it will.
But that was five years ago. What do I do right now? My life is still far from perfect.
Praise Him in the Storm
My wife asked me why I don’t write about my experience? My response is that my life wasn’t a triumphant “success” yet. But then I realized that “success” might not happen. Maybe it is “successful” right now. Maybe not in the ways of the world. Maybe in the ways of God.
Jesus tells us many, many times that the life of a Christian is not easy. Just the opposite, He tells us that our lives will have many problems. Have an honest conversation with any Christian you know. If you scratch the surface, you will find your share of problems.
We are here for each other. We can and should share each other’s burden.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!Ecclesiastes 4:10 English Standard Version (ESV)
Sometimes I have to stop and think of my blessings. What successes do I have?
- My health. I’ve experienced life in a hospital bed. It is not fun. Some people have to live in a hospital bed. I feel pity for them and I am blessed to not be one of them anymore.
- A big, loving family. A loving relationship is more important than money. The older I get, the more I appreciate this. I will hug my wife and kids again someday. I will hug the son I lost again someday. I have family here in the US that I can hug anytime.
- A roof over my head. I am not “rich” financially, but I have the things I need. I am not homeless. I have a bed and warmth. There is a saying in The Philippines:
A small blanket is better than no blanket.
- American citizenship. Some people literally wait multiple years to enter the US. Some are so desperate that they enter the US illegally. This comes with a whole list of blessings, many of which we take for granted. It usually takes a trip overseas to really understand how good we have it. It really is true that the poorest American still has more than most of the world. That is sad, really.
If we take the time to stop and think, we have many reasons to rejoice. This is “counting our blessings.” We can talk it out with a friend, or write it out in a journal.
The really hard thing is that depression ignores all the good things, and one really bad thing can wipe out 10 really good things. I was not counting my blessings when my son was killed.
God is in Your Praise
When something bad is happening, we really want and need Him to take action. He is mighty and powerful. We need Him.
Is there something that seems impossible? Is there something that only He can do? That’s where He works best.
When the Israelites went into battle, they went first with praise. When we praise Him, He is there. Do you want a miracle? Do you want Him to witness the situation and perhaps take action? God inhabits the praises of His people. Do you believe that? I do.
When Lazarus died, was there anyone other than God who could have raised him? Jesus waited for Lazarus to die before he went to visit. He said He was doing this so that the glory of God could be displayed for all.
Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”John 11:40-42 English Standard Version (ESV)
The apostles were instruments in raising the dead, but the ultimate power comes from God.
Your praise meets several different needs at once. God is good at multitasking:
- Reminding you that you need Him and nothing is too difficult for Him.
- Reminding you of your blessings.
- Bringing His power to your current situation.
Is Life Hard? Praise Him
This is difficult to do. It is a practice. I have to remind myself to praise Him in storms and difficulties. We are told to rejoice in our problems and difficulties. I am still trying to work this one out.
But you don’t have to understand the commands of God to follow them and receive His blessings. We only have to obey. He tells us to rejoice during tough times. Therefore, I practice rejoicing during hard time.
When things are at their most bleak, when you need a miracle, that is the time to reach out to God. That is the time for praise.