Choose to praise

Sometimes life becomes totally overwhelming. It feels like we’re living inside a bubble and the bubble is becoming smaller and smaller and the oxygen inside the bubble is being used up as we struggle to be normal.

Lamentations 3:7 – 9, “He has hedged me in so that I cannot get our; he has made my chain heavy. Even as I cry and shout. He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.”

I think that’s quite an accurate description of the way we sometimes feel. It feels like there’s no way out of this and things will never change and we will never break out of the chains. But we aren’t really supposed to feel that way. Or if we do, it should only be for a very short time. Later in the same chapter (verse 22 -26) it says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him! The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seek Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Jeremiah, to whom Lamentations is ascribed, changed his attitude towards God.

Just like Jeremiah, we have to be willing to change our attitude.

Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Isaiah 61:3. “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

When things are really hard, we must praise God.

Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

I know it’s hard to rejoice when you feel down and desperate, and when everything seems to be going wrong. I know it. And it’s not going to get easier. But at least if you’ve tried it a few times you are going to know that it works. Put on praise music. Grab a flag, or a dishcloth or whatever is at hand. Wave it around, jump up and down, dance, sing, whatever works for you. God loves you and He needs you to praise Him. Not for His sake but for yours.

Psalm 30:11, “Then he broke through and transformed my wailing into a whirling dance of ecstatic praise! He has torn the veil and lifted from me the sad heaviness of mourning. He wrapped me in the glory garments of gladness.” (TPT)

Psalm 34:1 -3, “Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me! My lips are full of perpetual praise. I’m boasting of you and all your works, so let all who are discouraged take heart. Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together. Let’s make him famous! Let’s make his name glorious to all.” (TLB) (Living Bible)

These verses are so encouraging I feel like dancing now. Both these psalms were written by David and he went through some extremely bad times and difficult, life and death situations. He also had to force himself to praise on the dark days. He had to pick himself up out of despair and failure and start all over again. David was a man after God’s own heart and I think that a lot of it had to do with the fact that he chose to praise God even in the most difficult situations. We can do that too. We can reach out and burst that bubble of oppression that is threatening to strangle us and choose to praise God.

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