Praise in the Moment
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As I write this devotional, I’m waiting for my husband to come out of surgery for cancer—for the second time.
To be honest, I struggle to find a place of praise in these moments. I want to agonize. My mind wanders where it should not go. And I convince myself that the only reasonable response is to worry and fear the worst. But that is not what God wants us to do in moments like these. He wants us to respond with praise.
I think that’s why I’m always comforted by the Psalms. They are a consistent reminder of God’s sovereignty and presence in times of trouble. Praise doesn’t always come naturally, but the psalms remind us that it isn’t only for moments when we feel like it. It is a command.
“Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. ... Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5).
Psalms of praise remind us that we belong to God. They invite us to turn our focus from our circumstances to who He is—almighty, sovereign, and in control of all things. They remind us that when we surrender our control to Him, we can experience peace in the middle of any storm. And we can look forward to the moment when joy finally returns.
The psalmist David gave us a perfect example. His life was threatened. He was pursued and attacked as if he were a wild animal. Like most of us, he faced periods of anguish and fear. Yet, he knew that praise was the key to victory.
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 42:5, 6).
Can we sing praise when we are fearful? Can we praise God when circumstances around us look bleak? Yes. Like David, the Apostle Paul endured ridicule and harassment. His life, too, was threatened. He was beaten, arrested, and put in prison many times. Yet, he praised God—even while chained in a prison cell. And his praise led to the salvation of the jailer and his family (Acts 16:23-32).
Our praise isn’t just for ourselves. Yes, God uses praise to focus our hearts on Him, but in His grace, He also uses it to minister to others—often in times of our distress. Is it easy? No. But is it possible? Yes!
Choosing to praise God when circumstances around us feel out of control is intentional. David had to make the choice to praise God several times throughout the Psalms:
“I will exalt you, Lord” (Psalm 30:1, emphasis added).
“I will put my hope in God!” (Psalm 42:5, emphasis added).
“I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever” (Psalm 145:2, emphasis added).
Sometimes, praise is a moment-by-moment choice. While sitting in the hospital waiting room, I must choose to believe that God promised to be present with me and give me His peace in all circumstances instead of choosing to live in worry and fear. While praise may not change my circumstances, it changes me. With God’s peace, my emotions are calmed. With His strength, I can continue walking forward—no matter what the future holds. And by His grace, others can find Him in the process.
How do you choose to respond to life’s circumstances today?
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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