Continued from here.
I have been through many dark places in my life. In fact, I lived most of my life in those dark places. I have also endured many “storms of life” that were also dark. The five days I spent in the hospital with my son were some of the stormiest days of my life, but they were never dark. I never sank into despair, and I always … ALWAYS … had hope because I knew that God loves me, that He is good, that He was in control, and that He was with me in the middle of the storm.
As I shared in my last blog entry, one reason for this was the intercession of my Church family. Between the many prayers and opportunities to give thanks, I was able to withstand the temptation to feel sorry for myself and become self-focused, which easily leads me to emotional darkness. Another reason I never sank into despair was my determination to praise God in the middle of this storm of life.
It’s easy to praise God when life is going our way – when the sun is shining, and everything seems right with the world. It’s an entirely different matter to praise God while your world is shaking and nothing is making sense. I decided in advance that if I had to go through this storm, I would praise God no matter how I felt. I would praise God for who He is and not allow myself to redefine whether God is deserving of praise based on my circumstances. Casting Crowns words it this way:
I will praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
~ Casting Crowns’ Praise You in This Storm
God is deserving of praise no matter what is going on in my life. Whether I am celebrating on a mountaintop or face down in the dirt of a valley, God is still God. I am not going to withdraw from God or withhold my praise based upon my circumstances. When I don’t feel like praising God, then I will give Him a sacrifice of praise.
Contemporary Christian music can help us stay focused on praising God in the middle of life’s storms. In addition to Casting Crowns’ Praise You In This Storm, I also leaned heavily on Meredith Andrews’ Not For a Moment
If you are in a stormy season of life, it doesn’t have to be dark. Ask your Church family to pray for you. If you are not connected to a local church (or even if you are), post you prayer request in the comments below. Then, choose to praise God in the middle of the storm. Know that He is always with you, no matter what you are facing.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding an umbrella with the rain pouring and water rising up to her waist. Courtesy Bitmoji.]