Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Problem with Praise

Praising God always came easy until Caleb died. Then it became a "sacrifice of praise," something that was very difficult for me to do. One of the best things grief has taught me is that praising God has nothing to do with your circumstances. After Caleb died I began to praise God simply because of "who He was," and not for "what He had done for me." Because the reality was-I felt like He hadn't really done much for me, except give me a huge cross to carry. I learned though that the more I praised God for who He was and not what I was experiencing, the lighter my load became. Our hearts were made for worship and even in the valley of death it was necessary for me to worship to allow the healing to come. Praising God turned my focus away from my own sad story and instead lifted my head to higher things, things of His Kingdom.

The problem though is that I now have a hard time when I hear others praise God for what He has done. And I hate that. I hate that I cannot fully enter into giving God the praise that He deserves. It's just that when others start praising God for the list of prayers He has answered, I start thinking about my list of prayers that will always remain unanswered-please make my son live. I start to spiral and think, "Lord, you never even gave us a chance to pray for healing for Caleb. He was just dead,end of story." All of those questions leave me feeling dizzy and I feel like I am back at square one with those dreaded questions I've faced so many times before, "Is God good? Does He really care?Where was He?"

It's humbling to be drawn back into so many of those questions that I "thought" were answered. Even more humbling is the fact that other people's joy brings my doubts into question. But hearing others' praise for answered prayers makes me feel left out, like the one God didn't care about, which I know is not true, but how do you handle that when it feels so true?

How I handle it is going back to God with those same questions again. Sitting with Him and telling Him the honest truth. The truth is that I do feel left out when the praise game starts and that it still hurts.  In the end, I always come back to Jesus. I'm reminded that Jesus does not have all the answers, He simply is the answer. Because in the end its Him, not my children, not my husband, nothing, just Him. Realizing that makes it easier to praise Him for the simple fact that He is God, not for what He has done for me or the things that have gone right in my life.

What I want to do is to be a voice for those who cannot praise God right now based on their "answered" prayers. Those broken souls out there who if they had to praise God based on what their lives looked like, there would be no praise going on. People who have many, many unanswered prayers and questions and messed up, chaotic, broken lives. I want to encourage them (and myself) that praise is so much more than giving God a shout out when things are going right. Praising Him for who He is and not what He can do is enough. I also promise that that praise will help heal your wounds.

Ending it with one of my favorite praise songs:

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