“Praise the Lord.”
As a sophomore in college, I have found this phrase difficult to genuinely proclaim. Because I would praise the Lord, but how is God present in my mundane homework assignments? I would praise the Lord, but why would he let her treat me that way? I would praise the Lord, but life is too busy right now for praise.
At this time in my life, it is much easier for me to tell myself that once I am out of college, engraving this phrase on the innermost parts of my heart will come easy. Once I say “I do,” once I have my first child, once I put a down payment on a house and pay off my college debt—then I will praise. The enemy gladly assists me, listing a pile of excuses in my head of why I do not have to praise the Lord.
And immediately I am blinded.
I am blinded by the beauty of having one more breath. Blinded by the faithfulness of a loving Father who carried my family through that dark season of life. Blinded by the mercy of his blood daily washing my feet that are so prone to wander. Blinded by the majesty of each star hung in the sky. Blinded by his promise to never leave me. Blinded by the Grace that intimately knows the darkest depths of my soul yet continues to tenderly allure me into his embrace.
And as I struggle with evoking genuine praise, I humble myself before the word of God. This posture before the throne is the first step in allowing my heart to be painfully transformed by the scarred hands of my sweet Jesus. The book of Psalms in particular is drenched with songs of praise, stirring my affection for my beloved Savior.
“I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:2
“We will sing and praise your power.” Psalm 21:13
“You who fear the Lord, praise him!” Psalm 22:23
“Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.” Psalm 35:28
“Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.” Psalm 42:5
“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” Psalm 51:15
The devil has deceived me to believe the Lord isn’t worthy to be praised. The devil has distracted me, so my tongue will much easier proclaim the sins of my sisters instead of the sovereignty of the Savior.
The Lord could easily point his finger at all of my shortcomings and failures to acknowledge his power and presence in my life.
He could shake his head in disappointment when I spend an hour in front of the mirror staring at myself instead of choosing to stare at his face.
He could easily toss me out of his loving hands and be perfectly just.
But instead, my sweet Jesus reminds me that when I fail to utter my words of praise, I fail under a canopy of covenant grace. I fall into that canopy, and he once again wraps me in a white robe of his righteousness and reminds me that I am safe. I am his. Indeed, I am forever his.
Praise the Lord.
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