I Will Praise God
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All of us have moments when we feel discouraged by life's circumstances. People may try to lighten our load or lift our spirits, but sometimes their efforts fall short. In these times, we wonder if we will ever emerge from our struggle with our joy intact. Instead, we can find ourselves in despair. In Psalm 42, the psalmist questions the reason for his despair:
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (NIV).
Maybe this is you today; you're in despair over circumstances in your life. Lean in and listen to what the psalmist says. Note those two little words, "I will." This is a determination, a choice, not a feeling. It's a forward-facing outlook versus a downcast perspective. The psalmist is choosing in the middle of his struggle and emotional despair to praise God, lift his perspective, and focus on the One who has victory. He reminds himself to put his hope in God, not in anything or anyone else. So often, our disappointments in life are based on unmet expectations of ourselves or others because we put our hope in circumstances and people.
When we choose to put our hope in God, it's not wishful thinking but an expectant hope, a confident hope. God is faithful, and He will come through for me. Jesus' last words to His disciples were a promise to always be with them.
Praising God in the hard times doesn't minimize or deny our heaviness of heart. Instead, it redirects our focus to our Savior and God. He promised never to leave or abandon His children, so we can count on His presence, even when our emotions can't confirm it.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit ().
God sees our despair, but He doesn't want us to stay there, looking down. Instead, he tells us to look at Him. We can be people who say, "I will." Choosing to give thanks in the middle of sorrow is the key to experiencing hope. It gives us perspective in our trouble. It can be a habit that becomes our natural response over time. Even when circumstances don't change, we will find ourselves choosing to praise God because He is a good Savior, our God. He's got this!
This releases the power of the Holy Spirit in us so that the fruit of the Spirit will overflow in us even in troubled times—yes, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control! That is supernatural living right here, today.
So, if today you're asking yourself that same question — "why am I downcast?" — then start a new habit today and lift your head and say with the psalmist, "Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God" (). And I will praise him again and again and again because He's my Savior and my God! That's courageous living!
God, thank You that You meet me in my circumstances. I will praise You and put my hope in You. Build a habit of praise in me; I pray. Amen.
Scripture is quoted from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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