I remember sitting in my office when my boss came in. He had come in unexpectedly, late in the day and was now sitting in my office across my desk. As he began talking about the organization and what changes were coming, I became more and more concerned. At one point I stopped him and asked, “Wait a minute, are you firing me?” He said, “No, not firing…” “I asked, am I working here tomorrow?” He simply said, “No.”
I remember driving home that day thinking what am I going to do? I have a wife and three kids at home; we had very little saving, what is going to happen? How will we make it?
We have all had those times when life seemed to make an unexpected left turn. Suddenly, we are on a detour down a dark and dangerous path. We may have lost a job, lost a spouse, or our health. Whatever the reason we now face an uncertain future, and fear of tomorrow.
When we face difficult times, how are we to respond?
As strange as it may sound, learning to praise God during our difficult times can give us peace, hope and invites God right into the situation we are facing.
Praise is Always a Choice
The Psalmist said,
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. – Psalm 34:1
Praise is always a choice. Even in difficult times, we can choose to praise God. I can choose to allow fear and worry to control my heart and mind, or I can choose to praise the Lord and confess that He is in control.
Lifting our voice amid difficult times is not always easy, but it is a choice. When I chose to praise the Lord even in hard times, at least three things happen.
1. Praise moves my focus from myself to God
Going through difficult times is simply part of life. God never promised us isolation from hardship or challenges. During those times, it’s easy to get completely focused on me and my problems. If we are not careful, we can become so centered on the problem, that we forget the problem solver.
The Psalmist said,
Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:11
When I praise God during difficult times, my focus moves away from me and moves to God. Many years ago, I heard a preacher say, too often we gaze at our problems and glance at God. However, we should be gazing at God and glancing at our problems.
As we praise God in difficult times, move our focus from ourselves and onto the one who loves and cares for us.
2. Praise Reminds Us that God is in control.
As I praise God during the difficult times, I am reminded that God is still in control. God is never surprised by the things that come into my life. God never says, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming, I hope Billy makes it through this.”
Jesus said in Matthew 10:29-31
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31 (NASB)
When we praise God in difficult times, we are reminded that our Heavenly Father is not only aware of our situation but is in complete control. He not only cares but promises to strengthen and help us. The prophet Isaiah said,
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
When we praise God in difficult times, we gain new hope as we remember that God is in control and is working for my good.
3. Praise is a Confession of My Dependence on God
When I praise God in difficult situations, I am confessing my dependence on Him. When I lift my voice in praise, I am confessing that He is my only true source. I look to Him for wisdom and guidance, knowing that He is a faithful Father who loves me.
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? – Psalm 56:3-4
As I praise God in difficult times, I remind myself that my only hope is in Him. I confess to God and myself that I am completely dependent on God as my provision and help.
Here are a few practical suggestions on how you can praise God in difficult times.
- It may not seem natural, and you may feel uncomfortable, but go ahead and praise God. Don’t fake it, be honest. God already knows your heart, so if you don’t feel like praising Him, tell Him, but praise Him anyway.
- Verbalize your praise. Praise is meant to be heard. Don’t praise Him silently, praise Him openly and verbally. There is something powerful about hearing our own voice praise and worship the Lord.
- Use fear and worry as indicators of when to praise the Lord. When fear and worry raise their ugly heads use them as reminds praise the Lord. Counter fear and worry with praise and worship.
- Allow God to teach you as you walk through the situation. God never wastes any event in our life, He wants to grow us to be more like Christ through every situation we face. As you praise Him, ask what you can learn through this experience.
- Review God’s work in your life in the past and praise him for it. Part of praise is reviewing God’s faithfulness in the past. As you review His goodness and provision in the past, you will find new strength to face the problems of today.
I pray you will fill your life with praise to the Lord. I pray that in the difficult time of life you will lift your voice in praise.
Have there been times when you faced a major struggle and found your heart of praise? I’d love to hear your story, share it in the comments section below.
Great, short, to the point article. Thank you for your continuing ministry.
We praised God for 3 years as my husband and I battled with infertility. He blessed us with two beautiful daughters! So whenever I face a difficult situation, this is always my point of reference. He spoke life into a dead situation. He is more than able. Glory to God!
I need this word this morning for sure I do Love HIM for sure
God is beautiful in every situation. Where prayer fails, praise makes day. Every christian needs to praise. Thanks for sharing thia piece.
All too often we respond to God by attempting to obey some religious commandment – in this case: you must praise. As Paul points out this is always doomed to failure because it is based on a part of our being that will always rebel against God until it is transformed by renewing. Praise comes spontaneously whether in tough times or (more importantly) in good times if we really know Jesus through the Spirit in our spirit. God is Spirit and we must learn to worship, communicate and enjoy Him in this way!
When praises go up to God, blessing will come down. When I speak about blessing, I am not referring to money, Jesus dying on the cross for our sins is number one!!! Health, family, life for as long there’s life there’s hope.
I was bed fast for 3 years, and doctors had not given me much longer for this world. I could not care for myself but I could pray and praise. I’d loudly sing praises in the middle of the night until it was as if I was in the middle of a sanctuary full of people praising Him. Some times I’d wake up praising Him for his glory and just because the sun was shining. I knew He kept me on this earth for a purpose and so when I became lonely or felt I was trapped and useless I’d praise him in song, I’d praise him through tears, I’d shout praises and I’d lift my hands til I could see myself praising Him at the foot of His throne. Today…6 years later… I am no longer bed fast. When once I could not walk far enough to get through the doors of a store, today I walk through an entire store. I still remember those nights when praise gave me the strength and power to keep on going….
I am learning this principle as I walk through this wilderness season in my life. My relationship with God did not really begin until my husband moved to heaven in 2011, after only 2-1/2 years of marriage. God carried me through the years of grief that followed. In 2016 I started another chapter in my journey. Sometimes my praise comes through tears, but God has never left me and never will. There is a spiritual connection with God when I sing praise to Him that lifts and thrills my heart. The more I learn, the more I fall in love with Him!
I needed this word this morning. I always praise God for what he has done, is doing, and will do. I do get anxious and often wonder when what I am praying for will come to past. I am working on that , because the Most High is to good to me , my family, and My friends not too.
I am so glad that it is a blessing.
Billy, this article was a much-needed word and blessing. Thank you!
Love your commentary’s and truth praising The Lord always even when we don’t feel it,because He is worthy to be praised ,we must trust in Him at all times .