Dear Precious Friends,
As I sit here asking God what to share with you today, I am drawn to share where our help comes from and what we as Christians are called to do in the midst of difficult circumstances that continue to present themselves to us day in and day out! It is the Lord who heals our distressed souls!
All of us have moments when we feel discouraged by life’s circumstances. Our loved ones may try to lighten our load or lift our spirits, but unfortunately, their efforts can fall short. We wonder if we will ever emerge from today’s trying situation with our joy intact. Where do we go for our hope and encouragement? We go to God's word, the absolute truth that pulls us off our ourselves and onto the Lord.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. —Psalm 42:11 (NIV)
But I will keep on hoping for Your help; I will praise You more and more. —Psalm 71:14 (NLT)
Our Heavenly Father invites us to share our deepest feelings and love, to confide in Him, to share our feelings honestly in prayer. He loves us so very very much and understands our needs and weaknesses.
SO how do we draw near to Him? By reflecting on His goodness and speaking loudly all the ways He has been there for us. Just call out all the ways God is and has been faithful! Of course, there are times when this may seem too difficult, but even whispering a prayer of praise can usher in a sense of liberty and peace.
The psalmist in Psalm 42 questions the reason for his despair; then he instructs himself to hope in God. The expression, “I will still praise Him” signifies an inner determination and a forward-facing outlook. He persistently, continually, and repeatedly praises the Lord. He reminds us at the beginning of the Psalm " As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts of God for the living God!
This allows him to focus on God his Savior, the One who will bring deliverance and victory. To have hope in God is to wait expectantly for Him. Since He is faithful to help, we can know that we will praise Him again. This gives us at least a vision of ourselves rejoicing in the future.
Praising God in the hard times doesn’t minimize or deny heaviness of heart. Instead, it redirects our focus on who God is. He never changes. He promised never to leave or abandon His children, so we can count on His presence, even when our emotions can’t confirm it. He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).
There have been times when I’ve thought, “I’ll never be encouraged.” Yet as soon as I begin to remind myself of His mercy and goodness, the clouds disperse. Now this doesn’t mean that those problems will suddenly disappear or that it will be smooth sailing from here on out, but it does mean that my face will brighten again and the weight of the burden will lessen. I’ll be able to experience the joy of the Lord in the midst of life’s storms and challenges.
It is possible to praise the Lord in hardship. It’s a choice, not a feeling. It becomes a kind of personal battle cry. Even when our run has slowed to a crawl and our shout has died down to a whimper — we can wait on our good Father with fierce expectation. He is faithful and true. If we can’t praise Him for our circumstances, we can praise Him in spite of them.
Ultimately, it’s the Lord who heals the distressed soul. The Holy Spirit causes our hearts to overflow with hope. He turns the light on where once there was only darkness. There is power in the gift of the Spirit! Knowing He’ll meet us when we are most broken is the beautiful reality of living the abundant life.
Take time to listen to this amazing song that summarizes this truth. It will greatly encourage you!
Please share how the Lord encourages you today and what promises you stand firm on!