O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
(Psalm 98:1-4 KJV)
I look forward to looking back. I love to understand what I’ve learned in the previous months, what God has been doing throughout the whole process and how my faith has changed. One thing that became more apparent to me recently was the significance of praising God.
At the beginning of the summer, I wrote a blog post called “The Choice,” which you can read here. In that blog post, I spoke about the nervousness I felt starting a new internship but how I was deciding to make the choice to trust God through it, even though I didn’t know what the outcome.
What I learned is that through discomfort God often grows us the most.
I can happily say that I’ve had an incredible experience this summer, and I can only attribute that to Him. The funny thing is that I had a positive experience not because it was easy but because I realized that God was pushing me to grow. I realized that God was in the process of opening doors in my life with new opportunities and relationships. Yet if I hadn’t focused on what He was teaching me, I probably wouldn’t be satisfied in the way that I am. I probably wouldn’t have been able to clearly see the ways in which He was moving in my life.
I learned that I wasn’t supposed to simply sit through any initial discomfort and let it pass. Instead I was to lift up God and understand that He was truly working things together for good. I challenged myself to praise God everyday, especially in situations that were daunting. No matter how I was feeling, I wanted to hold onto one true fact: God is good, and because of that, there is hope, and I am taken care of and watched over.
Reflecting on this, I’ve asked myself: What exactly is it that praise does for us?
Praise is such a powerful manifestation of faith.
We are able to acknowledge God’s goodness and authority in our lives. His glory becomes more real to us. Instead of focusing on our challenges and shortcomings, we recognize the truth that He is able. This truth overpowers any hindrances in our lives. Nothing else matters. Nothing is impossible. Because God is good, and this goodness supersedes everything. When we praise God, it is surrender. It is allowing God the space to do everything He needs to do, instead of us fighting against Him in the midst of His work.
Surrender is understanding that we fall short but that God saves us from our weakness and raises us up in strength.
The enemy doesn’t want to see us acknowledging who God is and increasing in faith, so often he attacks us with thoughts of doubt, hopelessness, and despair–these things that gnaw at us from the inside. However, praise is nourishment to our faith.
Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
When we praise God, we acknowledge who He is, and we believe in His promises. The Bible has so many excellent verses that serve as examples of this in which God is acknowledged for who He is within His promises:
“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (KJV)
- We are given the promise that the Lord will protect us from evil things and stabilize us, in light of His faithful character.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
- What is incredible about this verse is how God is differentiated from men–unlike our nature to be slack, God is accountable. In fact, He is so loving to us that instead of allowing us to perish, He gives us the opportunity to come to repentance.
“For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Psalms 33:4-5 (KJV)
- This verse is similar to the previous one; although the world has fallen, God is so full of truth, love and righteous judgment that He still provides a fallen world with His goodness and mercy–in the form of salvation.
What all these verses have in common is that they display the promises of God that will come to pass–His protection, His goodness, His gift of salvation–and they shed light on who He is: a faithful God, a God who is longsuffering, a God who does things in truth. In a similar fashion, when we praise God, we acknowledge His promises that will come to pass, which we can be confident in because of who He is.
Our eyes open to how God is working in our lives when we praise Him. Praise is a weapon against the enemy’s deception. I once saw a quote that read: “I will see it, when I believe it.” In terms of faith, when we believe God’s goodness–when we decide to come to that understanding and acceptance of what is already true–we will see it in our lives.
You don’t need all the answers to what’s going on. It’s unfortunately in our nature to doubt, to question, to forget what we’ve been delivered from. However, I encourage you to remember that no matter what you’re going through, God is the same, and He is taking care of your burdens.
The first verse in Psalm 98 powerfully reminds us that God has done marvelous things and that He has already claimed victory. As followers of Christ–members of His kingdom–this is victory is for us to claim as well. Don’t allow your emotions to cause you to miss out on what God is doing in your life. Pray and ask God for the faith to trust Him and the ability to surrender everything to Him, and praise Him for all that He has done and continues to do.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
(Psalm 63:1-7 KJV)