How Does Praise Give Us Peace?
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.” Phil. 4:-5
How Does Praise Give Us Peace? – Over and over God has called our family to do hard things. Some of those we choose, others were not really chosen, but we ended up facing. I remember one particular moment in 2015, what I’ve called my growth-in-the-dark year, when I was just tired of all of the hard things in my life.
I sat on my bed and cried and cried. I was done. I wanted to crawl back under the covers and hide from my children. The children I loved, but were driving me insane. In 2015 I had a 7, 5, and two toddler girls. Our little girl we had just brought home from China was a special needs little girl with lots and lots of needs. I had spent two weeks away from my other children and they needed me.
I felt too “needed” and on that day I was done. I called my husband and asked him to bring us lunch. I had piles of laundry dirty dishes from breakfast, and no energy to do anything. It was a pity-party and I didn’t want anyone there but me. God nudged my spirit, and asked me to “Praise Him.”
I was astonished, that I would hear that so clearly, but also because that was the LAST THING I wanted to do during that time of brokenness praise God. In fact, sitting on that bed, listening to the crying of my two-year-old daughter, I felt so far from God. Spiritually I was completely empty and dry. Emotionally I was pulled to the max. Physically I was exhausted, and even my marriage felt distant and hard.
In the middle of my hard, broken life, God asked me to praise Him. I wish that I could say that I did, but I didn’t. In the middle of my ocean of fear, I couldn’t praise Him. I just remember crying. Feeling so empty and alone, and just crying. One day I might praise you, God, but not today, I thought. I held out my hands, empty of praise, and found Him. I had nothing to give him, but found He wasn’t looking for praise to fill HIM, but rather, the praise would fill ME.
I’m still learning this messiness of praise. He looks at our messy lives, and says: rejoice. Praise Him, even for the mess.
I learned “one day” could be today. I didn’t have to wait until I “felt good” or even had a little good in my life, I could praise and rejoice right now. Paul, in Philippians 4:4 tells (commands) the Christians to rejoice. Always. He says “always” rejoice. Their circumstances, with persecution, were less than ideal. Paul says to rejoice even in the midst of arguing, fighting, and heartache.
For us, rejoicing is more about God than our circumstances. It is easy to praise God when life is good, but genuine praise gives God glory for just who He is and what he has done. Some days are hard. Some days make us feel empty and alone.
The other day I was noticing our cabinet door below our sink in our half bath by the kitchen was broken. I stood there and just sighed. It was like the door was exactly how I felt. A little off. It was a great summary of how my life felt at that moment. Just a little off. Broken just a little, still functional and still ok – but when you get down to look at it – it isn’t quite working. I look at my to-do list and think: too much. None of this will bring me peace.
I walked around that morning in a daze. I went through the motions, but not feeling God’s peace in my heart was making me feel a little off. When I opened my Bible, I automatically go to the Psalms, as I had vowed to spend the year in that book.
I saw the author, I can’t even remember which chapter, but the author was facing some hard things, but he still praised God. Over and over we see David and other psalmists talk about how hard life is, but God comes through. God is faithufl. And peace can be found even before the prayer/psalm is over.
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
The majority of the beginning of Psalm 73 he talks about how hard life is, and how people are just mean and they evil ones seems to prosper. A shift happens in verse seventeen, and he finds himself looking at God. Suddenly, even though the circumstances ARE EXACTLY THE SAME, he praises God.
Can I do that too?
How do we cultivate peace with praise? We turn our eyes off of our circumstances and praise Him. Why do we praise God? First of all, praise is the perfect place to find God’s presence. And we know God’s presence brings peace. Three reasons I’ve listed below allow us to praise God and cultivate peace. What can you add to the list? God’s presence, when Paul says “the LORD is at hand…..” Motivates us to keep praising Him, even when life is hard.
We need “reasons” to praise, yes, but God’s word is full of promises and reasons we can praise. I imagine you can list 100 reasons! I wrote down three. Let’s go over them and then you continue in your workbook to write down more reasons to praise God.
1. We can trust God, even when the world crumbles.
2. God is bigger than our past or future or present.
3. A personal God is powerful and a powerful God is personal and we can praise Him.