Do you ever notice how often we all say, “Praise God,” or, “Hallelujah!” when something great happens? I love that. I love how we will immediately give God the glory and praise Him with wonderful news.
But what are we doing when life is hard? When we are hurting or under spiritual attack? Are we stomping our feet and complaining while shaking our fists in anger, or are we praising Him?
There is a beautiful, beautiful worship song called, “Even When It Hurts (Praise Song)” by Hillsong United. I love the part in parenthesis. “Praise Song.” In other words, even when it hurts, we will sing songs of praise.
I do not always do this very well. The lyrics to the song, “Even When It Hurts,” made me weep the first time I heard it. Look at this: “Even when the fight seems lost/I'll praise you/Even when it hurts like hell/I'll praise you/Even when it makes no sense to sing/Louder then I'll sing your praise…”
Oh my goodness, I was almost crippled with shame when I heard those words, because I fail more times than not, to praise God. When it hurts like hell, I’m usually the first one to cry and beg God to remove the burden from our plates. To make the people who have lied/stolen/cheated us, stop in their tracks and do the right thing. I will beg and plead with Papa to thump the people who are in the wrong and wake them up; shake them up and make them do the right thing.
Instead of praying that way, I should be praising God. Praising Him for loving me and keeping Terry and me company as we wait on His timing. I should trust He has a bigger plan down the road and He is waiting for just the right moment to reveal Himself for me. I should, when it hurts like hell, praise my sweet, precious, loving, merciful Heavenly Father.
Instead, I often cry and feel this wave of, “woe is me,” and wonder if God is ever going to reveal His justice to the people who are so evil and selfish.
Then, I read this and was humbled all over again: “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (NIV)
Wow. Talk about, “even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise you.”
Verse 15 tells me not to pay back wrong for wrong, but to always strive to do what is good for each other and everyone else.
Verse 16 tells me, “Rejoice always.” That’s it. That is two words of a very simple message. Rejoice always means, “even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise you.”
Verse 17 tells me, “Pray continually.” Other translations say, “never stop praying,” (NLT) and “pray without ceasing.” (ESV). In other words, “even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise you.” I will keep myself in a mindset of prayer, and never ever stop praying, and while I am praying, I will praise Papa and trust He has Terry’s and my future in His hands.
Verse 18 tells me, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Guess what that means?
Yep. “even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise you.” In all circumstances … the beautiful, redeeming, exciting news we just received as well as the crappy, uncertain, ‘you have got to be kidding me,’ news we received … in all circumstances, give thanks.
One day, Terry and I had the opportunity to go exploring in the ocean. It was an unbelievably beautiful, glorious day. It was a day I will remember for the rest of my life. The water was as still as glass and the weather was perfect. We had been delivered a painful blow of horrible news just days before, and chose to “get away” and take in God’s majestic beauty on the water. We stopped at a spot to take a picture of this starfish. Where this was, the water was about two feet deep, but it looked like it was only two to three inches, it was that clear. I commented to Terry, “Makes all of our troubles seem to be so insignificant when we see how massive and beautiful all of this is, doesn’t it?”
Even when it hurts like hell, praise Him. He wants us to come to Him with our problems, but praise and thank Him, in advance, for the way He is holding and embracing us during the tension.
Praise Him. I encourage you to write out this verse below and place it somewhere you will see it in the coming days a reminder that even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise you.
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (NIV)