Who among us doesn’t script for ourselves a life of relative ease and unending happiness? I’m certainly guilty. Yet the years never unfold according to our perfectly laid plans. From scary diagnoses to financial burdens to strained relationships, life has a way of throwing our days out of kilter.
“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
Then all the people said ‘Amen’ and ‘Praise the LORD.’”
1 Chronicles 16:36 NIV
The night before the tests, I lay in bed, wondering if tomorrow would bring blessed relief or start a potentially long road of suffering. As I turned over the possibilities, words of the Doxology1 leaped unbidden to mind, followed immediately by the refrain to “It Is Well With My Soul.” Peace enveloped me. I fell into a restful sleep knowing no matter what verdict I heard the next day, all would be well. My physical body may not be, but my spirit would.
I doubt I would have felt the calm assurance 5 years ago that I did that night. The daily practice of praising God has settled my soul. It has reminded me of the steadfast love of my Father. When the unimaginable happens, instead of dwelling on the what-ifs, I’ve equipped myself to remember the promises and faithfulness of my unfathomable God. I let praise usher in lasting peace.
(This is an excerpt from Julie’s devotional: Everyday Praise: Walking in Greater Peace. You can get a copy of Everyday Praise here on Amazon.)
Jesus tells us to expect it: “…In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33b).
But then the Savior goes on to extol us to “take heart!”
Why? Because, He “have overcome the world” (vs. 33c)!
Such an amazing truth, yet take heart … have peace … in my day-to-day struggles?
And having joy and peace in the mundane and hard? How is that possible?
As Christians, we can be certain our trials will be redeemed eventually. Yet what do we do in the meantime, in the here and now?
Because even when I know the Lord—when I know His love, faithfulness, and might—unwanted circumstances have a way of winning the day. Those afflictions tend to mask the beauty of my ultimate salvation.
Not that long ago, I finally began to understand how to peel back that mask, how to lighten the dark glasses of unwanted circumstances. I learned how to see beauty in the midst of troubles.
You see, experiencing peace in a world that is anything but peaceful boils down to remembering and embracing the fullness of who God is and what He offers.'A practice of gratitude is instrumental in remembering God’s faithfulness.' Julie Sunne Click To Tweet
A practice of gratitude is instrumental in remembering God’s faithfulness. Time in the Word is critical for knowing His promises. But it takes developing a habit of intentional praise to bring us into the fullness of that peace.
And that’s a habit that escapes many Christians.
During praise we glorify Him while reminding ourselves of His might and grace. A reminder that is crucial to knowing …
Why we needn’t fear. (His power)
Why we needn’t despair. (His love)
Why we needn’t doubt. (His unchanging nature)
Once we establish a discipline of praise, our default becomes trust. Eyes off the created situation and on to the Creator. Focus shifted from the temporary to the eternal, from the angst-filled to the hope-filled.
When unwanted things knock us down, we remain on our knees in full expectation of the faithfulness of our great God. In a state of peace, we begin to trust that our Father is far more capable of handling it then we are.
“But praising God in the middle of trials is so hard,” you might be thinking. You’re absolutely correct!
Steeped in the after-effects of sin, glorifying God is hardly easy. But God is worthy, and glorifying Him is necessary if we want to live fully in Christ. In the fullness of the hope, peace, and joy He secured for us on the cross.
Singing worship songs.
Declaring the power and mercy of our great God.
Recalling His benefits to us.
Declaring His glorious nature.
These forms of praise are all ways of growing our faith and, in turn, growing a peace that passes all human understanding. And who doesn’t want that?'It takes developing a habit of intentional praise to bring us into the fullness of that peace.' Julie Sunne Click To Tweet
You, Lord, hold the answer to all my fears, all my despair, all my doubts. Help me remember who You are and what You offer, so I can trust You when all seems hopeless. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What elements of praise do you incorporate every day? Song? Prayer? How can you glorify God more regularly?
Julie Sunne is a wife and mom to four, as well as an author and editor, who is discovering that through God’s grace messy can also be glorious.