Are you in the middle of a downpour? “Is it raining outside?” you say, no, I am speaking of a life downpour! A few nights ago I saw the full moon and the sky so clear and felt the peace that David must have felt out tending his sheep. I know that, for him, there was the turmoil of keeping his flock safe from the ravening wolves and bears, and finding the stray that kept wandering from the safety of his sight, but at night, when they were all settled and asleep, he rested. I like to think that it was on a night like that, laying back looking at the stars, that he penned the 8th Psalm: God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods, bright with Eden’s dawn light. You put us in charge of your handcrafted world, repeated to us your Genesis-charge, Made us lords of sheep and cattle, even animals out in the wild, Birds flying and fish swimming, whales singing in the ocean deeps. God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world.
What do we do after a long day of battling the ravening wolves and bears in our own lives? Sometimes we complain about the bear of a boss, the wolf at the bank, the geese and pigs getting in your way at the grocery store. Then there are the lazy cows and whales beached on your couch with the remote in their hands instead of sharing it with you, the old grump! What if we began to praise our way out of a bad mood, instead of grumbling and making, not only ourselves, but everyone around us, miserable?
Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. The definition of ‘sacrifice’ is: an act of offering to a deity something precious. What is more precious than giving Him praise when you are feeling lousy? What did Jonah do in the belly of the great fish?
Jonah 2:7-9 “ When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple. “ Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy. But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” He offered the sacrifice of Thanksgiving!
It’s hard to be thankful or in praise mode when you are stressed and unhappy, but it is the quickest solution to regaining your good temper!
I spoke with a family tonight, three thousand miles away, who are under the stress of facing surgery, an invalid child having seizures so strong he had to be given CPR, trying to get settled in a new home in a new town, and no close friends around, but before we hung up, I had the privilege of being included in their night prayers. As I listened in and prayed the Lord’s Prayer with them, I felt that peace had settled into the home and that all would be well.
If you are in a life downpour, stop, take a deep breath and as you let it out say, Praise the Lord!