Friday, September 4, 2009

I Choose to Praise

I knew my day was going to be busy. The calendar had 2 appointments on it & I had a long list of things to do at home in between the 2 appointments. In my quiet time I read on the importance of keeping my eyes focused on the things that are unseen because I can become entangled by the things that I can see.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

Lord, help me today to keep my eyes focused on you, the author of my faith. Help me to not become entangled by my daily demands.

After lunch, the boys were done with their school work (gotta love half days!) so I concentrated on getting my laundry finished and the last few emails sent out before I had to get ready for my first appointment. I was taking my 15 yr old son to our Naturalist to see if he had a stomach ulcer. He had been in pain for about a month off and on. It wasn’t going away so it was time to get it checked out.

My day was going well. No big bumps in the road. Thank you Lord for the gift of an easy going day.

About the time that Josh & I got seated in the Naturalists office, I got a text from my daughter.

“If you need me, call my cell. The power was turned off.”

Ok, God now the real day begins, right? This wasn’t the first time our power had been turned off. It has happened a couple times before. We have struggled financially for a few years now and sometimes we just can’t get enough money together to get the whole bill paid. The electric company seems to want the whole bill paid on time, not half of the bill a few days late.

This time, Scott had paid half hoping that would hold them off until he could get the rest paid. It didn’t.

Josh & I came home to find the kids playing cards at the dining room table. They were having a good time, enjoying being forced to be creative with their time since they couldn’t watch TV or play on the computer.

I went to my room & sat at my desk.

Again Lord? We have to do this again? Is there any end to this nightmare that we are living in?

I took out one of my spiral journals that I make notes in when I’m studying my Bible. I took a pen from the drawer and began to write. The words that flowed were from the depths of my heart; words that I had not really thought about until I saw them appear on paper. There is something about writing with a pen that typing on a keyboard can’t accomplish sometimes.

I wrote;

The electricity is off again. We are told it will be back on by midnight tomorrow. Please Lord, let it be sooner. A friend sent me a text, “How are you?” I want to answer back & tell her how I really am. How do you say, “I am great!” when I don’t feel great. But I choose my response. I choose to say, “Thank you Lord for the unusual cool breeze today so that our house will not get too hot before night fall.” I chose to be thankful that Scott did get a pay check and was able to pay the bill even if it was a few days late. I choose to praise my God, instead of pout about my circumstances. Quietness and confidence is my strength. God gives me a quiet heart so I can hear his voice of truth and peace that passes all my understanding. I choose to believe that my God can do more than I can ask or imagine. I don’t understand why this season of adversity continues. But I choose to praise my God for his grace, mercy and comfort. My struggle here is so finite compared to my eternity with my infinite Lord, my God.

I do not always respond like this. The peace that I felt was unbelievable. I know that there are many worse things to experience than not having electricity, we have experienced a few things worse. I wasn’t mad or frustrated. I wanted to be at first. I new I had a choice. I could choose to praise my God, or I could choose to drown in self-pity.

We have a choice. This is the beauty of God’s work in our life. He allows us the opportunity to choose to worship him.

I thought about Job as he sat listening to his friends try to diagnose his circumstances or when his wife told him to “curse God and die!”. He chose to praise his God. He said, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” Job 2:10

I can’t compare myself to Job, we haven’t lost everything…yet. We could, and if we did how would I respond? I’m learning this on a continuous basis. Everyday, I have a choice to make when I am faced with various trials. Everyday I have to choose if I will praise my God or if I will complain and ask why this is happening. I don’t make the right choice very often. But when I do, like this week I am blessed with the gift of God’s peace and reminder of his awesome love for me.

It is a fact of life that difficult days are ahead. We can blame someone if we want to. Or we can say, “I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:19

I choose to praise.

David chose to praise. When he was being pursued by Saul, or he was dealing with trials, he fixed his heart on God. This didn’t just happen naturally. It happened because he knew his God. He trusted his God. His hope was in his God. That is how he was able to keep his heart steadfast, that is how he was able to choose to praise.

Psalm 42:11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 57: 7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is steadfast and confident! I will sing and make melody.

David wasn’t alone.

The prophet Habakkuk didn’t understand all that God allowed to happen, but he trusted in God and chose to praise him.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

Paul knew his God and was able to praise Him even while in prison. in 2 Timothy he knew his life was near the end. His last words Timothy were,

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. 2 Timothy 4:18

Fix your mind on the reality that you will experience difficult days, maybe unbelievable, nightmarish days. But fix your mind also on the truth that God has a love for you that is beyond what your mind can comprehend. He has not abandoned you, but has a fantastic plan for you. When the difficult days do come fix your mind on what your response will be.

Will you choose to praise?


LauraLee Shaw said...

Oh wow, Dana, what a trial. Wow. So thankful the Lord unleashed His strength & faith to help you not just get through, but praise Him too. I'll be remembering this post when I'm whining about a tough day. You are such a blessing.

Deanna said...

Thank you!