Praise God! Praising Your Way Out In the Midst of the Prison of Trouble
Isaiah 61:1-3 (King James Version)
1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
It has been my personal experience (and is proven Biblically) that when you get down in the dumps or feel out of sorts the best remedy for that situation is always praise and thanksgiving. If I am having one of those days instead of feasting on my troubles I shall begin taking a look at my blessings.
Jesus never downgrades our troubles or compares us with anyone else. He never tells us, "If you think you have trouble then you should see the trouble your neighbor is having." No, he cares about each of our needs as if we were the only one on earth with a problem. However, He also knows how miserable it can be for us when we wallow in despair. He has given to us the perfect way out of the prison of trouble; it is the very key that unlocks the door to the cell of loneliness, frustration and self-pity. It is called praise.
This goes so deep against the grain of human nature that the very idea really does sound ridiculous. Praise and thanksgiving right smack middle of trouble sounds almost like, well, just weird. But nevertheless, some of the greatest miracles and blessings have been born out of this simple yet effective solution.
There are more examples in the Bible than I can count where praise has dulled if not completely erased trouble. David seemed to be a magnet for trouble but through it was born most of the Book of Psalms - songs of praise and worship. God labeled David as a man after His own heart. Paul and Silas were thrown into prison for doing good and preaching the Word of God. They had stripes upon their backs and were in pain. If anyone had the right to feel sorry for themselves it was Paul and Silas. But instead of crying out about their troubles they began to pray and sing. The earth began to quake and the jail doors swung open. The jailer was about to commit suicide but stopped after he was told that none of the prisoners fled. He and his whole household became believers after this - all because of the act of praise.
My dad, who is a minister, has often used the story of Paul and Silas in his sermons. He likes to think of Paul and Silas sitting there praying and singing and God is so pleased by it that he begins to tap his foot to the sound. Since heaven is his throne and the earth is His footstool when He began to tap His foot to their praise then the earth began to quake! (This is of course my dad's imagination and not Biblical but you never know...)?
PRAISE THE LORD
I'LL PRAISE YOU IN THIS STORM
When I feel at my lowest point and begin to praise it is a feeling that goes beyond words. I feel like I could almost feel the very heartbeat of God. Some of my most wonderful blessings have come when I've been in deepest trial. I feel so near to God when I praise Him in spite of my circumstances. The Bible speaks of how God inhabits the praises of Israel and I believe that He inhabits the praises of all of His children.
Praising in the midst of trial shows faith and breeds hope. When we praise God we are proving to Him that we believe that He will take care of us. It also gets our focus off of the problem and makes us actually excited about what God is going to do in our life. When I begin to praise I feel like I can run through a troop or leap over a wall just like the Psalmist. When I'm focusing on trouble I feel crushed by the weight of the world. Praise is really believing God and thanking Him for all the times that He's seen us through and will see us through. Our situation may or may not change - but in praise we are trusting God that he knows the truth about the things that we cannot see or understand. Just like a child must trust a parent for things, like getting a shot when he's sick will help him feel better, we must learn to understand that God knows what is best and no matter how bad or how painful the situation He will work it for our good. That's how we can praise Him.
Just a few days ago, my 26 year old cousin lost her husband in a fatal vehicle accident. She instantly became a young widow with 4 little children, six and under - the youngest being only two weeks old. We don't understand what good could possibly come out of this situation. To look at this it seems so unfair. But before he died, he had downloaded a ring tone on his phone of a man preaching and it was saying how the Lord says to, "Trust Me." So every time his phone would ring it said, "Trust Me, Trust Me." He had this as a reminder to trust God in every circumstance. My cousin's brother-in-law came up on the scene of the wreck and found him dead. He went to retrieve some of his personal belongings from the vehicle before leaving. After he reached the vehicle he heard his cell phone was ringing. "Trust Me, Trust Me."
Whether it's the loss of a loved one, health problems, financial troubles or anything else, we touch the heart of God when we praise and love Him in the midst of trouble.
I could write a book on the the times that I've seen people (including myself) triumph through praise. But since this is a hub and not a book I'll just mention one. My sister has an interesting situation that happened to her when she praised in the midst of trouble. She was suffering from a condition that had left her crippled and threatened her life. She decided that instead of getting down about it that she would praise the Lord. She was in her house and began to sing the song by Casting Crowns, "Praise You In This Storm" from the depths of her heart. (See video on the above right for the song). As she began to worship and sing there was literally a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder outside of her home although there had been no rain nor storm. There was no more after that. We believe that God was showing His approval on her praise and was giving her a sign. She eventually was completely healed, instantly, in a church service. (You can read a little of her testimony by visiting her Hub Pages Profile. I am sure she would be happy to share more with those who may want to e-mail her for her story).
So instead of panic, PRAISE ~ it's amazing what praising will do!
What are some things that you can do when you begin to feel the urge to be depressed?
- Make a written list of your blessings.
- Hug your spouse, children or someone else dear to you and silently thank God that they are in your life.
- Go outside and look at nature. Consider what you see around you - the sun, the trees, the hills, and rocks. The little sparrow. Also consider what you can't exactly see - how God hung the planets and spun them into orbit, the force of gravity and the intricate details inside the human body and mind. Then realize that after keeping all of these running He still has time to care for you and knows you better than you know yourself.
- Read the Psalms. Sing the psalms! MEMORIZE the Psalms!