Most know me as one who is optimistic, always trying to see the best in people and circumstances. Yet to say the past two weeks have been rocky is truly an understatement. Beyond the physical of navigating with merely two working limbs, shock, anger, and disappointment have knocked me off my feet, honestly leaving me with little desire to do anything.
Occupying this territory and sitting in the weight of my emotions is relatively new for me as I move from stuffing and numbing to dealing and grieving. In many ways and days, it seems like I have more questions than answers. Still through it all, the word “praise” has continued coming up. At first, I was appalled to such. How am I supposed to praise you even in this, God? I don’t understand what you’re doing. It’s not like this just the first time either. I am only twenty-six and this was stroke number three. Why me? Still as He persistently nudged my spirit, I decided to look up its meaning.
Merriam Webster defines praise as “expressing approval or admiration for someone or something; saying or writing good things about (someone or something): expressing approval of (someone or something): expressing thanks to or love and respect for (God).”
So, let’s first notice the definition doesn’t refer to the person expressing or doing the “praise” at all. The focus is outward. Beyond self. Therefore, when we start looking at examples of praise in scripture, it makes a bit more sense as to… – Why Paul and Silas would sing praises despite being in jail in Acts 16… – Why Mary praises after the angel Gabriel comes to her saying she will give birth to the Messiah, even though she was still a young girl and unmarried… – Why David praises in Psalms even in the face of death – Why even after losing everything, Job praises…
You see it was not about how they felt or thought or even the circumstances they were facing. The focus of their praise was on GOD and HIS NATURE and GOODNESS. Likewise, as storms rage around us… Even when we cannot make sense of everything and even when we do not necessarily “like” or accept the season/place we are in, you and I can still praise.
The part of speech for “praise” also stood out to me. Notice it is not an adjective or describing word. “Praise” is most often used as a VERB. An action. Therefore, rather than treating it as an accessory, only worn when we feel good, on Sundays, when that cute guy is watching or when all is well in life, praise must become a daily, even hourly essential we don’t do anything or go anywhere without.
Please understand that in no way am I trying to trivialize or ignore the pain you nor I deal with. As I said last week, life is not fair, and everything does not always turn out okay. Still God has shown me that praise is not about us to begin with. We are humans and will fail and fall. But Our God never will. He is our Everlasting Father, Creator of the entire Universe, the King of Kings, The Alpha and Omega- Beginning and End. Even still, he chose to become like us, born in a lowly stable to mere teenagers. To walk this earth fully God yet fully man for 33 years, still remain sinless… Dying a death we deserve, He rose again three days later so we may be forgiven, completely cleansed from our sin and have the opportunity to know Him personally… Therefore, it is truly ALL about Him. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and I challenge you today to join me in posturing our hearts in praise to Him. He is worthy of it all.
As I was writing this blog, I came across the song “Is He Worthy?” by Chris Tomlin. It was definitely no accident as it parallels our discussion of praise. So below is a link to listen…
Much love and prayers always, Alisha 🙂