Growing up, my sister Jeni and I sang duets in church. After we were both married, we didn’t do it as often, but on occasion. One particular time we had chosen to sing the song “When Praise Demands a Sacrifice.”
Our families shared a house at the time, and we were practicing in the living room. The gravity of the words were not lost on us, and we felt the presence of God as were singing. As we began the chorus which says “When praise demands a sacrifice, I’ll worship even then, surrendering the dearest things in life, and if devotion costs me all, I will be faithful to the call when praise demands a sacrifice,” my oldest son who was just over a year old crawled up into my lap.
His tiny little presence became a tangible token of the declaration we were making, and we had to stop singing. It was one thing for me to express that I would praise God through all circumstances, but to put the flesh and bones of my young son behind those words was a whole other thing.
We did manage to make it through the song that Sunday with God’s help, but that divine moment had a lasting impression on me.
Fast forward about 29 years…. My mind has been drawn in this season to focus on praise. Although certainly not a time without its challenges and heartbreak, it has been a period that God has revealed more of His steadfast character and intense love to me.
Sure, it would be easy to focus on the frustrations and hard spots, but really what good does that accomplish?
One of my favorite Bible characters is David. He loved and honored God from an early age, and God himself appointed him king of Israel. So David had a great life, right? Not exactly.
David’s story demonstrated some great highs and some deep lows.
As a young shepherd boy he defeated the giant Goliath, and God himself appointed him King of Israel. A mighty and fierce warrior, God also delivered many of Israel’s enemies into his hands.
But David had a period of time where he was pursued relentlessly by Saul who wanted to kill him. And of his own doing, David coveted Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and then arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle to cover up his adultery, not one of his finer moments.
Undoubtedly though David’s greatest accomplishment is referenced in Acts 13:22 when God refers to David as a man after His own heart. Now that’s a compliment!
I love the Psalms written by David because they are honest and raw. He candidly reveals his inner thoughts and his heart cries to God, both his joys and his struggles. One thing that has always stuck out to me, though, is how he wills himself to give God praise and honor even in spite of his circumstances.
I’ve been challenged by that. Many times praise does not flow freely in the middle of a struggle, but is an act of the will, a choice. It’s not easy, but it’s oh so worth it because it turns our hearts towards home and resets our thoughts.
I’m not sure where you’re at today, but I know some of you are struggling, maybe even feel like you’re drowning in your circumstances.
You are NOT alone.
You are NOT unseen.
God loves you and His heart is for you. I’d like to encourage you to give God praise in spite of your circumstances. It’s not always easy, sometimes we have to dig down deep, but anytime we shift our focus from our challenges to the face of the One who created us, the view is so much better!
If you have a need or just need to be encouraged, I’d love to pray for you. Leave me a comment and let me know how I can pray for you.