Sunday, March 28, 2010

Praise God In All Things...

As Christians, we are called to praise God in all things, in all circumstances, in all situations. But we rarely do this. We complain about the jerk who cut us off. We groan about our dead-end jobs. We grumble about our families or friends. We whine about our bank accounts, paying taxes, and our opposing political party. In short, we fail miserably at praising God always. Even when our lives are brighter and more beautiful than we could ever have expected, we still find the one or two small imperfections and focus on those.

I'm sure that I have failed every day at praising God in all things. This is something that I have been attempting to change in my own life. I recently had an experience that greatly convicted me of my need to readjust my priorities and learn to praise God's name in all things and all situations.

Several weeks ago, my husband and I found out that our very dear friends' youngest son was hit by a car and killed. The details of the situation are not important - all that is important is that their not-quite-two-year-old boy was killed. My husband and I, of course, headed home on the next flight and, as soon as we arrived, rushed to our friends' home. I will never forget what I saw next.

When we entered the house, the first thing I saw, amidst the hushed cries and whispered words of shock, was our friends, the parents of the killed boy, praising God. Less than twenty-four hours previously, their little boy was taken from them, and yet all I heard from their mouths was, "Praise you, God. We praise you and thank you. We trust you in all things. We thank you for our baby boy's life. We love you and praise you, God." And I realized then that I have never seen anything more beautiful than this.

I was also, then, deeply convicted. I am so greatly blessed in my life. I am happier (not to mention healthier) than I have ever been. I have an amazing husband who loves me unconditionally and is completely devoted to me. I have wonderful and supportive friends, and, though we now live far apart, we love each other dearly. I have been blessed with a great education. I have a roof over my head, more than enough food, clothes on my back and plenty in my closet. I have so much more than so many people. I love my life. I really do. And, for the first time in my life, I feel safe, secure, loved, and cherished. What more do I want? What more will it take for me to praise God in all things.

See, when it comes down to it, it is not what we have or who we know that makes us praise God. Rather, it is our heart attitude that makes us praise God. We need to have a heart of praise, and, if we do, it won't matter how much money is (or isn't) in our bank account, where we work, or what sorts of possessions surround us. No indeed. If we foster a heart of praise within us, it will not matter the circumstances or situations that may arise; no matter what and in all things we will praise God.

If we were to truly realize who God is and who we are in comparison, we would never stop praising God. And that is what I strive for.

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