“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
Do you see yourself standing on a game show stage today? Are you waiting your turn, watching the emcee spin the wheel, your heart pounding as it comes to a halt? Will you become ill with the coronavirus today? Will a loved one contract it? Will you learn someone close to you has succumbed to it?
You brace yourself for unwanted consequences, pain, and discouragement from this pandemic and shutdowns. We don’t know yet when the virus will play itself out or when we’ll return to “normal” life. How do you deal with the uncertainty of waiting?
Of course, it’s good to lean on your spouse, your closest friends, and family for their support and empathy. Let your mentors challenge you to rise above despondency, to help you carry on and not fall apart.
Reading your Bible refreshes your faith and reminds you that God keeps His promises—to prosper you, redeem you, restore you—through mercies that are new every morning. But most importantly, look for moments alone with God, and offer your praises to Him for this trial.
What?!? Sing praises to God today? How can we even think of worshipping and applauding God when our world is on the brink of collapse?
But praise, like joy and love, is not a matter of the heart—it is a matter of the will. That sounds illogical. Modern culture says that these human experiences are based on feelings, that joy and praise are the results of happy events. Praise isn’t naturally associated with grief.
The writer to the Hebrews disagrees. Praise, in the Scripture text above, is viewed as a sacrifice, an offering to God. It means relinquishing our hold on that which we want on earth yet will never keep. It is grasping the truth that our treasure lies in heaven and will never rust or perish there. It is a fragrant offering that pleases God in honor to Him.
Praise is the sacrifice of raising our arms before God and declaring that He is in charge of our lives. Praise is acknowledging His power, His glory, and His dominion. Praise is kneeling before our incredible God, submitting ourselves to His authority.
In her book, 31 Days of Praise, Ruth Myers asks her readers to develop the practice of praising God and giving thanks to Him in times of blessing and times of trial:
“In genuine spiritual worship, we bow before the Most High God, the most merciful and reliable and winsome of all beings, and we crown Him as Lord of all that we are. We consent to His gracious, transforming work in our lives; we agree that He can work in us, so that we’ll be willing and able to do His will. In other words, we choose to let Him be God in our lives. This is our greatest privilege, the highest thing we can do.”1
If we do not praise Him, if we keep silent, God will be praised nonetheless—Jesus Christ, during His Palm Sunday procession, said that even the very stones will cry out their Hosannas! Join the mighty chorus of those who continually sing praises to Him in heaven!
As you ride the emotional seesaw right now, find your balance in praises to God. Praise Him for this trial. Praise Him for His sovereign plans, that what He does is always right. Praise Him for His love and sacrifice for you.
As you focus on praise, you’ll find the sting of grief is softer, the burden lighter, your path for the future clearer. You’ll receive strength to avoid succumbing to hopelessness. Jesus Himself is walking beside you, holding your hand and carrying you as a precious lamb. You’ll find rest in His loving arms and awaken each day in a renewed friendship with your Shepherd.
Most of all, you’ll know peace, true peace…a peace beyond understanding, a peace that no worldly situation can provide…with no more anxiety, only thanksgiving in your heart and mind, now guarded by the Commander of angels, Jesus Christ.
Praise Him. For everything.*
Oh Lord, let me sing praises to You! Let me shout joyfully to the Rock of my salvation. Let me come before Your presence with thanksgiving and shouting with psalms. You are so great and greatly to be praised! I praise You in Your sanctuary, in Your mighty heaven, for Your mighty acts, according to Your excellent greatness! I praise You at the sound of music and dance for joy! Let everything that has breath praise You!
O God, let me never forget all Your benefits: You forgive all my iniquities, heal all my diseases, redeem my life from destruction, crown me with lovingkindness and tender mercies, and satisfy my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
I worship and bow down before You, kneeling before You, my Maker and my God; I am a sheep of Your pasture, held tenderly in Your hands. I will bless You at all times, even in the midst of my trials and difficulties; Your praise shall continually be in my mouth. You are my strength and song, and You have become my salvation. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.
Put a new song in my mouth—praise to You—so that many will see it and will trust in You. Let my praise be upright before You and beautiful in Your sight. Blessed be Your name, O Lord God, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!”
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*Note: This devotion is adapted from the chapter titled “The Sacrifice of Praise” in my book, A Crocus in the Desert—a collection of devotions, prayers, and stories for women experiencing infertility, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other websites. If you or loved ones are going through infertility right now, I encourage you to read this book, to hear the voices of other women on this journey and find comfort in their words.
1Ruth Myers, 31 Days of Praise: Enjoying God Anew (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1994), p. 23.