Praising God In the Storm
What does it mean to praise God? Sure, we all praise God when times are good and during times of plenty but when times get rough most of us get crushed beneath the great weight of the world. Our lives have been compared to great storms or a hurricane, but did you know that the eye of the hurricane is the most peaceful? Ships have been known to sail through a hurricane, and then when they reach the eye it is blue skies and calm waters. The same goes for our lives, Christ is the eye of the hurricane that we so desperately search for when tribulation and strife come upon us.
I have written to you much about the Armor of God and about the battles we fight, yet another weapon of our warfare is praise. Praising God in the midst of hardship is hard, we do not feel like praising God when we are in pain, but that is when it is the most important time to praise God. We need to keep our mind focused on Him and what He has done for us. Why do we forget the good things He has done when the bad times come around. Saint Paul writes in Ephesians about the “evil day”, and when it comes we need to be prepared and ready for it.
The times of peace are for preparation for the times of war, praising God is essential to our hearts well being. Whether you sing, read Psalms, listen to music to praise Him – Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Yes, I know that when our family is sick, when we go through divorces, abuse, when our churches are under attack and our government makes poor choices causing us strife it is hard to see the bright side of things. I know that for myself, the last few months I have not wanted to praise God; I have been battered and beaten against the rocks of life. I find it hard to praise God in those times, but when I do, my heart goes into the right place and my mind becomes peaceful.
The world is full of hatred and wickedness; it really is becoming a scary place. We Christians are a minority. We lay down our beliefs for all the other religions of the world. We do not open our mouths to defend our faith, we just sit back and let the world pounce on Christ and the Resurrection. When we do these things we might as well be like those who spat in Christ’s face as He hung on the cross. Our pride and arrogance gets us into trouble. I fear for the world, and I fear for those who do not believe.
One of the examples from the gospel that I love comes from Matthew 8:24-27:And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying: “Lord, save us! We are perishing!" But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
What an example! Jesus slept through the storm at sea. How often do we yell out, “Lord save us” when the waves come and cover us, and the Lord asks us: Why are you so fearful? He promised us He would never leave us or forsake us. He promised us He would be with us until the end of time. He promised us eternal life if we just believe. But that is the hard part—the just believe part. What would we do if God came to us and told us to build an ark on dry land? What would we do if God told us, go take your son to the highest mountain and sacrifice him there? What would we do if a giant came to us and threatened our community and family? What would we do if they rounded us up and placed us into a concentration camp? What would we do if someone put a gun to our head and told us to deny Christ or die? Would we stand up and say God is our shield and buckler? Would we trust God enough?
This life is short, we only have a small amount of time to glorify God and get our hearts in the right place. We were promised that nothing would be set against us that we could not overcome. Nothing too great is too big for Christ and His mercy and grace—the problem is we often times put God in a box and we ourselves limit His power. We have all the heavenly gifts at our disposal, and yet we lack the faith, vision, and heart to stand up and praise God in the storm.
Do not forget who it is that can give life and take it away. Only one has the ability to grant us access to the gates of heaven and cast the soul into the lake of fire. When we are faced with the perils of life—praise God for it all. He will see us through!