Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Praising Him

Psalm 136

My daily reading has me in the Psalms right now, and I have always loved this book of ancient songs. I know, I know--I'm not exactly unique in that, LOL.

But do you know what I love most about them? That the songs speak to everything we experience. Joy, heartache, love, disappointment, hope, longing, fear, appreciation, pain, expectation, shame, victory...you name it. If there's an emotion out there, one of the psalmists has written about it. It's almost impossible not to find a psalm that expresses one's heart at a given moment. A psalm that cries out your heart to the Lord.

That itself isn't what I love though. It's that through every one of those emotions, underscoring it and crowning it, is praise.

Through the joy, the authors give all the praise to Him.
Through the pain, the authors wait with praise for Him.

I've read through the Psalms several times, and I've only ever found one song that only laments and doesn't tack on praise. One--out of 150!

Some days it's really easy to praise. Like yesterday, when my precious little girl turned 8, and we got to celebrate the day she joined our lives and made them oh-so-much fuller.

I can't imagine, now, what life would be like without my Xoë. She's a ray of sunshine, sensitive and sweet and smart and sassy, and I thank the Lord daily (literally) for her and her brother.

But we all know praise isn't always easy. Some days, the world comes crashing in. Some days, all hope seems lighter than vapor. Some days, we just want to rant, rail, and cry out. To God, to man, to the universe--to whoever will listen...or because it seems no one will.

Sometimes we know how David felt, being hunted and sheltering in caves. Sometimes we feel like our son, our pride and joy, has turned on us. Sometimes we feel haunted by our sin. Sometimes we feel forgotten.

But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
Do not leave my soul destitute.

 I can't pray trouble will never befall us--it will. We're going to face disappointments. Persecution. Betrayal. Sickness. Pain. We're going to lose loved ones. We're going to stare darkness in the face and not be quite sure where--if--the light lies beyond it.

But I can pray that we have the hearts of the psalmists through it all. That no matter the trial, we keep our eyes on the One who can bring us through it. That no matter the tribulation, we remember that He is our refuge. And that no matter how low, how bad, how tear-drenched our day might be, He will never, never leave our soul destitute.

Today, I praise You, Lord, for all the joys bubbling up in my life. And today, Lord, I praise You for seeing me through the valleys too.

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