EVEN WHEN IT HURTS
Think back to a time when you experienced an overwhelming amount of heaviness in your thoughts, emotions and faith. You sat there looking at the reality of your situation knowing that your faith in Christ had something different to say, but you couldn’t help feeling hopeless. You walk into work, social events or home with a downward countenance as you try to process your current reality against what you thought it would have been or should have been. After minutes, hours, and days go by, you feel defeated. You realize you have to make a choice. You can either stay in this place of defeat, or you can choose another response… Praise.
That’s right, you have a choice. A choice that goes beyond what you are feeling, what you are seeing, or what you thought, wanted and desired. A choice that actually surpasses your flesh, to a place of faith. A choice that drives you to a state to declare within yourself,
“Even when it hurts I will praise Him.”
You see, the incredible reality about our God is that he sees all, knows all, and surpasses all. The praise that we can offer up to our magnificent God isn’t as much for Him as it is for us.
I believe that our Heavenly Father knows that if we can step beyond our thinking, our feelings, and ourselves that we can actually enter into a place of hope, strength and faith in Him.
Some of you may be reading this thinking you have totally felt that, or find yourself feeling that heaviness of your season. But the thought of praising God just doesn’t seem possible. In fact, it would be a down right sacrifice.
That sacrifice is the key to unlocking the door of praise. That praise is the key to unlocking the door to your breakthrough.
In Hebrews 13:15 it says, “Through Him (Jesus) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
Right here it acknowledges that being thankful at times is a sacrifice. Notice how the scripture starts with saying, “Through Him (Jesus)”. God knows a sacrifice of praise (thanks) isn’t something we can do on our own. It’s always and only through Jesus.
Something I came across the other day in my quiet time struck me.
In Judges 20:18 it says, “Before the battle the Israelites went to Bethel and asked God, “Which tribe should go first to attack the people of Benjamin?” The Lord answered, “Judah is to go first.”
The name Judah means praise. When the Israelites approached God about going into battle his response was to send PRAISE first.
The same is true with the battles we face. I believe God is asking us in the midst of our battles to send praise as our first response, even when it hurts.
Praise shifts your perspective off of you and onto God, the source of all hope and comfort. Praise overwhelms your heart with peace. Praise ignites your spirit with faith, as you trust in something greater.
I would encourage you to read the story of the wall of Jericho in Joshua 6.
In verse 2 it says, “Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.”
God spoke this promise to Joshua BEFORE they had the land. God gave Joshua a long list of instructions on what needed to happen before he saw the victory come to fruition. However, the victory was already his. The last commandment God gave Joshua was to have the people shout after all the necessary steps took place. After Joshua and his people were faithful with their commandments in doing everything the Lord had asked, it was finally time to shout. When they shouted, the walls of Jericho came crashing down and Joshua and his men claimed Jericho just as God had said.
What walls do you need to be shouting down through praise to claim the promises that God has already given you?
Can you come to a place within yourself that even when it hurts you will praise Him?
Let us be a generation of people who rise up and choose to praise our God EVEN when it hurts.