At our church, we begin the service with worship before we move into the sermon. A few weeks ago during worship, the worship leader said that God was up to something good. Then we started singing a praise song with those words in the lyrics. But very quickly things took a turn. Suddenly, the power went out!
(Let me back up a bit by saying that the following day Vacation Bible School was starting. This means that a lot of extra equipment was set up and plugged in. So this obviously wasn’t a normal occurrence.)
But something wonderful happened. Despite the circumstances, the congregation continued worshiping. We didn’t let this hiccup stop us from praising God. For those that knew the words, they kept singing. And for those who weren’t familiar with the song, and had to rely on the television screens that normally displayed the lyrics, they clapped their hands in rhythm with the tune.
As we continued praising, different pieces of the electronics came up, one by one. And the rest of the service went on as planned.
But this service taught me a lesson. No matter what is going on around us, we have an opportunity to keep praising the Lord. We don’t have to let our circumstances stop us from singing God’s praises. God deserves all the glory and praise, no matter what. He is always good, He is always working on our behalf. He is always there.
Our problems might tell a different story. The enemy might try to whisper lies in our ears. But we don’t have to listen. We can choose to keep our eyes on the magnificence of our Father.
And something else I learned – it feels so good to keep praising God, even when things around us say we shouldn’t. I had a big smile on my face as we continued singing and clapping on that Sunday morning.
When we focus on the goodness of God, it helps our hearts to overflow. Praising God takes our attention off of any issues we might be facing. The more we focus on our problems, the bigger they seem to become. But on the other hand, praising God keeps our eyes on Him. And when we focus on Him and how amazing He is, our troubles seem to shrink in comparison to His greatness. Praising God also helps us to see that the Lord is our source. He is our strength, our provider, and our shepherd. Praising God reminds us that we don’t have to worry and fret because we have the Most High God by our side.
Some of my favorite Bible verses come from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” They are words I know well, yet I was recently struck anew by them. I was reading a devotional – Fighting Words by Ellie Holcomb – and in one of the entries the author referenced these verses. The part that really hit me was that it is God’s will for us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. I knew those three things were important, but these verses show us how vital they are. It’s no wonder we feel better when we implement these three practices into our daily lives – because they are in God’s will! Ellie put it this way, “Whenever I begin to direct my joy, my desires, my doubt, my cries for help, my worry toward Jesus, something changes in my heart. And I have a sneaking suspicion on why that happens—because I’m living right in the middle of God’s will for me! Did you catch that part about this passage? We don’t have to fret about finding what God’s will is for our life—it’s right here! When we rejoice, pray, and give thanks, there’s no question or doubt: we’re living in God’s will.”
This is something I want to tuck away in my heart each day. Whether things are going well or if problems arise, I want to remember to focus on God’s goodness. I want to focus on rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. No matter what comes our way, let’s keep praising the Lord. Let’s keep seeking Him in prayer. And let’s keep giving thanks.
Thank you for reading!
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas