I Will Praise God
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 (Psalm 42:5 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 (Psalm 34:18).
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” (Psalm 42:5). And I will praise him again and again and again because He’s my Savior and my God! That’s courageous living!
Streams in the Desert – July 26
- 202226 Jul
For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5, RV).
There are times when things look very dark to me–so dark that I have to wait even for hope. It is bad enough to wait in hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect and yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement and yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart and yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence–that is the grandest patience in the universe. It is Job in the tempest; it is Abraham on the road to Moriah; it is Moses in the desert of Midian; it is the Son of man in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is no patience so hard as that which endures, “as seeing him who is invisible”; it is the waiting for hope.
Thou hast made waiting beautiful; Thou has made patience divine. Thou hast taught us that the Father’s will may be received just because it is His will. Thou hast revealed to us that a soul may see nothing but sorrow in the cup and yet may refuse to let it go, convinced that the eye of the Father sees further than its own.
Give me this Divine power of Thine, the power of Gethsemane. Give me the power to wait for hope itself, to look out from the casement where there are no stars. Give me the power, when the very joy that was set before me is gone, to stand unconquered amid the night, and say, “To the eye of my Father it is perhaps shining still.”
I shall reach the climax of strength when I have learned to wait for hope.
Strive to be one of those–so few–who walk the earth with ever-present consciousness–all mornings, middays, star-times–that the unknown which men call Heaven is “close behind the visible scene of things.”
From death to life
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.’ 1 Samuel 2:6
Suggested Further Reading: John 14:4–11
I heard the other day a trembling woman—I hope she will yet be rejoicing in the Lord—I heard her saying she was afraid she never should be saved, and I told her I was afraid so too, for she would not believe in Christ, but was always raising questions, and doubts, and peradventures. Well, she said, she did not know whether the Lord had begun a good work in her. I told her I did not know that either, and that I did not enquire about it; I knew what the gospel said, and that was, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ But she said, perhaps it was not God’s time. I said, ‘Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ Ah! she said, but she could not believe. I asked her why she could not believe. Could she not believe what Christ said? Was he a liar? Could she dare to say that she could not believe her God? Well, she did not exactly mean that, but then there were her sins. But, said I, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ Well, she said, she hoped she should have the strivings of the Spirit, and that one day she should get right. ‘My sister,’ said I, ‘I charge you before God, do not get any hope out of that; your business is to come to Christ and to come to Christ now; but if you stop anywhere short of that, in any sort of feelings or experience, then you will never get to your journey’s end.’ A believing sinner’s business is with Jesus and not with the Spirit’s operations. The Spirit works salvation in him, but he is nowhere bidden to look to the Spirit for salvation. No man can come to the Father but by Christ.
For meditation: The fact that we cannot ‘save ourselves’ but have to ‘be saved’ is no excuse for anyone to sit back and hope for the best. God has revealed to us the way to be saved—by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16; John 3:16–17; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8) —and that step of faith is commanded, not suggested (Acts 16:30–31).