Give praise to the Lord, proclaim 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. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:1-4
Sometimes it’s easier than others to praise God. When life’s going as we’d wish, it’s easy to rejoice. But, life isn’t always like that. What about when everything seems stacked against us? When our health fails? When we face the death of a loved one, or our own mortality?
In times of trial, it can be hard to feel praise and glory in our hearts. But, it is precisely at these times we must praise God, and rejoice in His glory. This isn’t because God is egotistical, or that He needs us to affirm His power. It is because we need to remind ourselves of that power – to remember, in our trials, that God remains in loving control, no matter what we’re facing.
When we offer praise we are looking to the Lord and His strength. When we seek His face in our tough times, we re-center ourselves in the love that transcends all our earthly troubles – even death itself. It takes tremendous faith to “look to the Lord and His strength” when we feel lost. And, that faith carries tremendous power.
I encountered this power when I interviewed a woman who’d survived stage three breast cancer. She faced months of chemo and radiation, a double mastectomy, and the prospect of not seeing her children grow up. Through it all, there was one thing that kept her going. “I felt like the Lord told me to choose joy all the way through my journey – however it ended,” she said.
She chose to look to the Lord and His strength. She looked for His face in the time of trial. And in that praise, she found the strength to live each day with joy that no disease – not even death itself – could conquer.
Almighty God, give us the strength in our times of trial to look above our troubles, to remember that you remain ever-loving, ever in control, and that in faithfully seeking the face of Christ we gain the strength that will not falter, even unto death. Amen.
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