We have often heard it said, preached from the pulpit, sung about, etc., that we are supposed to praise God in the midst of our troubles. After all, isn't it a Biblical concept? "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." (Rom. 5:3 NLT, also James 1:2).
Unfortunately, this is concept is a bit foreign
to most of us, even to those who talk, preach and sing about it. I mean,
most of us don't feel joyful enough to praise God in the midst of our
I read a very interesting passage from
2 Chron 29 today, from the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). It was the
story of Hezekiah, as he was beginning the religious reforms that his
reign is famous for. First he had the priests and the Levites clean the
temple of all the atrocities of idolatry that his father and other kings
before him had placed there. Next he pulled together the "worship team",
Levites skilled in the making of music and singing. Then he commanded
that the sacrifices begin, and this resulted in so many sacrifices being
brought that the priests couldn't keep up with them. Finally, when the
sacrifices were finished, Hezekiah called the people to kneel, to
worship, to praise: "Then [Hezekiah] the king and the leaders
ordered the [Levites] to sing praises to ADONAI, using the words of
David and of [Asaph] the seer. They sang praises until
they were filled with joy, and they bowed their heads and prostrated
themselves." (2 Chron. 29:30 CJB)
Wait. Did you catch that?
This text, translated by a scholar of ancient Hebrew, who is also a
Messianic Jew, puts the words in a slightly different order than what we
would expect...The record doesn't say the people were so filled with joy
that they praised God; it doesn't even say they bowed down and then
began worshipping God; rather, it says: "...They sang praises
until they were filled with joy..." And it was
only after joy overcame over them that, "they bowed their heads and
I wonder if we have it backwards.
Perhaps we shouldn't wait until we feel joyful enough to praise
God in the midst of our trials, for this time may never come. Instead,
we should sing His praises in the midst of our trials,
until we are filled with joy! In dire circumstances, we won't even
begin to feel that joy until we start
It makes sense, doesn't it, for doesn't the Bible
teach us that God is the source of joy? "...in your presence is
unbounded joy, in your right hand eternal delight." (Ps. 16:11b
The New Year begins today. For most of us, our New Year's
prayer goes something like this: "Oh God, may this year have a few less
problems then the last!" Why not learn from Hezekiah's story and change
our prayer for New Year's this year? Why not put things in the "Hezekiah
order", the one that says we sing praises until we are filled
with joy, until we fall down and worship! I can guarantee you
that when we put things in this order, we will never look at problems
the same way again.
A friend of mine once told this little
story. Although she was between jobs, she was not between bills. Despite
her no-income status, she was still required to pay her rent, her
utilities, buy her groceries, etc., and with each incoming bill, her
discouragement mushroomed. Then one day she put all the bills in a pile
on the floor. She then got out her guitar and began praising God. As she
sang and praised, her feet began to dance around those bills and she
became filled with that immeasurable joy, joy that can only come from
the presence of God.
Needless to say, she felt incredibly
better, but the story doesn't end there. Over the next few days, money
began coming in from unexpected places until my friend's expenses were
I don't know about you, but I think my New Year's
Resolution this year might look a bit different than that of previous
years. It might look a bit like this: "I resolve to praise God in the
midst of my problems. I resolve to not stop praising
Him until I am filled with so much joy that I can do nothing else but
bow my head before Him."
Won't you join me?
Oh, and if
you are wondering where to start your praise, why not check out "Found
in You" by the Paul Baloche?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.