Tag Archives: praise

Ever Be…or Not??

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Bethel’s worship song, “Ever Be” has been one of my favorites for over a year now. But have you ever had a moment while singing a favorite song where the words take on a whole new meaning? Almost as if you had never actually understood them before? Yeah, that happened to me this week.

Your love is devoted,
Like a ring of solid gold.
Like a vow that is tested.
Like a covenant of old.

Your love is enduring
Through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon
With mercy for today.

Faithful you have been.
And faithful you will be.
You pledge yourself to me.
And it’s why I sing,

Your praise will ever be on my lips,
Ever be on my lips.
Your praise will ever be on my lips,
Ever be on my lips.

We so often talk about the importance of trusting God and continuing to praise Him in the midst of life’s storms. And certainly we must trust and praise God when tough times come. He is a Comforter and Redeemer of all the hurt and pain and trials and tribulations of life. However, the irony is Β when all hope is lost and everything appears to be falling apart, it is often easier to trust God and praise His name than at other times. In the darkest times we have nothing to cling to BUT God. It’s also easy to praise God when life is going well.

But what about the “in between” times? You know, those times in life when nothing truly tragic is happening, but life still isn’t going the way we want it to. You’re thrilled to have a safe, warm house, but it isn’t what you want. It needs new flooring and the bathroom needs remodeled and the kids just put another hole in the dry wall. You’re super proud of your family, but the kids just won’t stop arguing and 5th grade math has you feeling like an idiot. Everything is going really well at work. You have a job you really enjoy and find meaningful. But you really want that promotion and fear you’ll never get it.

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I think I spend a lot of time in this “in between”. I think we all do. And though my praise for God so often waivers, He remains faithful through these times just like any other. His love for me really is devoted and tested and enduring. He has indeed pledged Himself to me and He always keeps His promises. He is worthy of my praise all the time – when He’s all I have to cling to, when life is better than I could imagine, and when I’m in the “in between”. So the question is will I praise Him? Will His praise truly “ever be on my lips” even when I’m simply not getting my way? Will I continue to praise Him at all times, choosing to trust Him to work all things for my good, and be my great Redeemer. Will I acknowledge He is the Giver of all good gifts and my truly devoted loving Father? I long to! And the best news is God is as great in mercy and patience as He is in love and kindness. But our praise is literally music to His ears and He deserves it always. So may it truly ever be on our lips.

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Choosing to Trust and Promising to Praise

A couple of nights ago, I went running in the rain. Now I am normally a VERY fair weather runner – it can’t be too hot or too cold and it certainly shouldn’t be raining! But this particular night, the cool rain and the quiet glistening streets just felt right somehow. I often spend my time running talking to God. Often it is simply asking God to make sure I make it back home! But this night, it was confession…I’ve been writing about confession and I suppose I have to live what I write…

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I told God just how sorry I was for not trusting Him wholeheartedly and completely. Have you ever been there? I say I trust God with my present and my future and believe He is with me in the waiting (click to read about God’s presence with us as we wait), but I don’t act like I really trust Him. Instead of enjoying the good gifts He’s given me each day, I fret and worry about whether or not He’ll come through tomorrow. I say He’s a good, good Father who gives incredible gifts, but I continue to doubt His provision for tomorrow despite experiencing His abundant blessings today.

And so with each step it wasn’t just sweat and rain that ran down my face…

But God is a good, good Father. He is patient. He is kind. And He is SO slow to anger. And for that I am even more grateful than I am for the tangible blessings He gives.

God is indeed with me in the waiting and as I wait, He longs for me to rest in the assurance of His constant and faithful provision. He has always come through in the past. He holds and knows my future. But if I continue to fret instead of demonstrate faith, I’ll miss the joys of His blessings in my present. So what’s my fear? Well, what if what I want for my future isn’t what God provides? Ugh, I hate even typing it. It just sounds so selfish, bratty even. But I know I’m not alone. Don’t we all doubt whether God’s plans really will be better or at least as good as what we have planned? And don’t we all know how silly it is to think God is somehow holding out!? And yet…

The truth is sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes the path and plans God lays before us involve more suffering or heartache than we anticipated. And so we long to believe and trust and follow God faithfully wherever He leads, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. We know God’s way is ultimately the best way, but we are also very aware of Jesus’ promise that in this world we will have trouble (and disappointment and sadness and hurt).

And so what are we to do? God in His graciousness knows how much we struggle to trust Him and promises to give us strength where we lack. And so we ask Him for that very thing…strength to trust. We ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to stay in the present where we are much more able to notice the blessings God has given, praise Him for providing, and delight in the joy they bring. We promise that in good times and bad, His praise will ever be on our lips because atmospheres shift when we praise. And so my prayer did just that – it moved from confession, to gratefulness, to promise, to asking the Holy Spirit for the strength to keep my promise: a promise to praise His name whether I get my way or not and a promise to choose to trust Him, because like choosing to run in the rain, ultimately trusting God and praising Him really is a choice.

running-rain

And so hold me accountable. May I stay present and grateful for the gifts of each and every day. Whether life seems to be going my way or not, may His praise ever be on my lips. And I pray that is true for you as well.