Praise? At a time like this?
A sacrifice of praise is a choice; it is not automatic, it does not come easy and it comes at a cost. At times like these, praise is not our first thought or response. Rather, worry, fear, concern and questions fill our minds. Where is the hope?
The Word of God gives me counsel. Its pages are filled with people in need, facing trouble, navigating unknowns, mired in struggle, dealing with disappointments and asking questions. In the very middle of God’s Word we find the Psalms. Interestingly, seventy-percent of the Psalms are laments. Lament is the deep feeling and expression of sorrow and grief.
Surely a time of questions, concerns and lament are upon us.
So, where is the hope in the midst of all this trouble? In short, it’s in Jesus, the one who said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, NIV). Our inclination is to depend on our own efforts, scramble for safety and turn every which way for help, but currently all our “help” is crumbling around us.
“But take heart,” even “though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Jesus is our help and hope. Look to Him. Call upon His name! (John 16:33 & Ps. 46:2)
Yes, a time of struggle and lament is upon us, but on the other end of lament is praise. The Psalms, of which seventy-percent are lament, are punctuated with an exclamation of praise. The final word (Ps. 150, NIV) in the Psalms says this:
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
In the midst of our struggle, we need help and hope. We need a savior. We need Jesus. Call upon His name and trust in Him, for therein is faith. A good place to start is in praise and worship, even when it doesn’t come easy. Even when it's a sacrifice.
God helped me with this today through the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s singing of “Psalm 150.” Just like you and me, many of the people in the video are in the midst of “trouble,” but they are lifting up a sacrifice of praise to the Lord and therein is joy and hope.
Play this video on the biggest screen you can find and at the loudest volume you can handle! Our hope is in Jesus!