A Perfect Time to Praise

Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. —Psalm 146:1

Today’s headlines are not pretty…bad politics…inequality…riots…injustice…police brutality…school closings…white privilege…conspiracy theories…crimes against police…COVID-19…defaming monuments…stay at home orders…Black Lives Matters…All Lives Matter…school openings…unemployment… It is easy to be discouraged.

Just one of those issues has potential to create a dark cloud, but all of them together form an emotional black hole that has the potential to suck the joy out of any day. What am I supposed to do? Ranting on social media may create a moment of satisfaction, but ultimately it just contributes to the problems. Sticking my head in the sand and ignoring the issues is a good way to get my butt kicked. Joining a cause pulls me into the fray. Remaining silent gives the appearance I am indifferent. My options to respond to today’s problems don’t seem very good. Except for one…

Praise the Lord, my soul.

The writer of this psalm reminds me that I always have the choice to praise the Lord no matter what is taking place in the world. Literally, the phrase “Praise the Lord, my soul” is the psalmist telling himself to praise God. Another way of saying it would be: “I will tell myself to praise the Lord.”

To live a life of praise is too acknowledge the goodness of God in spite of my problems. It doesn’t mean I ignore the things that frustrate me. It means I choose to acknowledge God is present in the issues. Praising God keeps me from having a critical spirit toward myself and others. It empowers me to cancel my negative thoughts, keep my mouth shut from complaining, and ultimately become a voice of hope and promise. It reminds me of the foolishness that happens when I strive to keep life fair. It balances me so that I will stop comparing myself to other people. Praising God allows me to be grateful for something in everything.

I do not know what problems the writer of this psalm was facing when he penned this praise, but he lists 11 reasons to praise the Lord in his psalm. Praise the Lord because…

  • He helps those who put their hope in God.
  • He is the Creator who faithfully sustains all of creation.
  • He gives justice to the oppressed.
  • He gives food to the hungry.
  • He frees those wrongly imprisoned. 
  • He opens the eyes of those who can’t see what’s really important.
  • He supports those who are carrying heavy burdens.
  • He loves those who pursue Him.
  • He protects the foreign-born from abuse.
  • He cares for the vulnerable in our society.
  • He frustrates the evil plans of wicked people. 

When problems are overwhelming and answers are hard to find, it is a perfect time to praise. I get it. It sounds like a waste of time. It sounds like a pie-in-the-sky theology, but if you think God has become irrelevant, read this

God is not distant when we find ourselves neck deep in problems. Praise him and see what begins to unfold in your heart and mind. See how it gives you a new perspective in spite of problems. 

This Could Change Everything by Francesca Battistelli is a great song. I hope it encourages you.

Please share this blog with a family member or friend. You never know, God might be wanting to use you to encourage them.

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