You know how sometimes you think you know the meaning of something, and then BAM! Just like that something happens and for the first time, you have a whole new understanding of the word? Well that happened to me this week.
My whole life I have felt I understood the word Praise. I would go to church on Sunday and tell God how great He was and then I would go back home and go about my business. The following Sunday I would go and do the same thing. Praise was merely telling someone, “Good Job!”
This week I have discovered just how wrong I am, and how Praise is something much, much deeper.
Last evening I sat at a Celebration of Life for my friend Chris. Taken too soon at the age of 45, I sat there and I wrestled with WHY? How can someone so young, so full of life, so good, be taken away when there was still so much life to live? The service was beautiful and full of great memories of a rich life. As I stood watching his wife and 3 children, I just felt….
She was now left to raise two teenagers and 11 year old on her own without the support and love of her husband and best friend.
Then it happened….the moment when my eyes were opened to the REAL meaning of the word praise.
Speaker after speaker spoke of the awesome life Chris had led. Funny stories where shared, and scriptures read that Chris lived by. His life verse was Psalms 3:3
I had heard the verse a thousand times, but never really gave it much thought. As if on cue, the choir broke out in a powerful song that brought this verse to life.
As I sat listening to the song I could not help but notice Chris’s sweet wife. One would expect her to be a bundle of emotions… I was. What I saw almost brought me to my knees. She sang along with the choir, eyes closed, hands raised, and smile on her face…PRAISING her God.
She was going through the toughest night of her life, and she was opening her heart, lifting up her voice, praising the very one most of us where sitting there questioning….WHY?
That’s when I realized my idea of Praise has been wrong my WHOLE life.
Praise is not telling someone all the good things you like about them and giving them a congratulatory slap on the back. Praise is not an action, but a lifestyle.
I came home and immediately looked up the word praise and these are the words that jumped out to me….
Wow! Praise is not just merely saying “Thanks God” but it is worshiping God…..even in our darkest, most difficult, far from understanding days. When we don’t know why or how we are going to carry on, we know He is STILL God and He is STILL Mighty.
It is so easy for me to Praise God for the blessings in my life, but lifting my voice and my hands during the dark and troublesome times is not always easy. My human understanding takes over and my heart aches. But God is no less glorious, powerful, awesome and loving in those times. In fact, it is often in those times we see Him more fully and vividly.
Jesus makes it very clear in Luke 19:40 what will happen if we hold our Praise from God….
“But Jesus answered, I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
God will not be denied Praise. He deserves the glory of His people, but if we don’t fulfill it, nature will.
What a whole new perspective I have this morning. I know that often the act is easier said then done, but then I remembered God’s promise to me….
He has never failed me on that promise. Not once.
Today I praise God for the blessings in my life, and they are many, but I also praise Him for the dark times when the storms rage around me. Because during those times I know I will not sink… how can I when His hands are firmly holding me?
I don’t know about you, but I have no plans to let the rocks out praise me.