A Sacrifice of Praise
In the Bible, God asks for a sacrifice of praise, but what does this look like in different circumstances. My brother put it this way: “our question when we face suffering should not be ‘Why God?’ but ‘What?’… ‘what should my response be?'”
This was a challenge to do through the years of chronic illness, pain, and being housebound. Then into my struggle to praise, God asked me a question. It was during a week of particularly intense symptoms, a real wrestle with depression, on one of many sleepless nights and when I was really longing for health, God asked me how I would respond if he healed me… and then how I would respond if He didn’t. He challenged me that his goodness is not dependent on health, or healing, or happy endings, but that I should remember who he is and hope in that. And that, whatever he allowed, he was equally worthy of praise. That night I reminded myself of who God is and wrote my response to his unchanging goodness.
“If He gives health I will thank him.
If he allows sickness I will praise Him.
When he guides I will follow.
When he stays silent I will wait.
In pain I will pursue him.
In gladness I will enjoy him.
In hope I will be confident in him.
In doubt I will fall on him.
And uncertainty I will rest in him.
In despair I will cry out to Him.
In sorrow I will reach for Him.
In loneliness I will abide with Him.
In failure I will rely on his grace.
In success I will walk humbly with Him.
In suffering I will long for Him.
In questioning I will stand on his truth.
If he gives strength, I will serve Him.
If he allows weakness I will depend on Him to use me anyway.
In my brokenness I will look to His beauty.
In wholeness I will trust in His strength.
In adoration I will dance with Him.
In hopelessness I will turn to Him.
In faith I will obey Him.
In the desert I will thirst for Him.
In fear I will fly to Him.
In love I will worship Him.
In repentance I will weep with Him.
In prayer I will seek his face… for he is the God above all, worthy of all kinds of praise, enough for every circumstance, and sufficient for every failing.
Abounding in grace,
Holy and righteous,
Mighty in power,
Lavish in giving,
Choosing and keeping,
Surely this God is worthy of all praise! Whatever my circumstances, feelings, or failings, He is worthy. He is enough! He is the ultimate treasure and joy. So fill me Lord! Fill this cracked pot with the treasure of knowing you – the God who is worth everything.
As I wrote this out, I was encouraged to realise that he accepts all kinds of praise from whatever place we are in. My Dad says “God’s highest praise comes from the lowest place”. We do not need to be in a good place or able to do more than cry out to Him, for even this is praise and a sacrifice that pleases him. The desperate cry out of our pain when we cannot see the goodness of God – that doesn’t understand but chooses to praise, is as glorifying to Him as the delight and wonder we express when we see his goodness.
He invites you…
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and He who has no money, come, buy and eat!… Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your souls may live.”
“Let not conscience make you linger.
Nor of fitness fondly dream.
All the fitness He requires
Is to feel your need of Him”
(Come ye sinners – Joseph Hart.)
What will your response be?
Illustration by Valerie Martin