Praises in the Storm - Encouragement Café - July 19, 2016

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Praises in the Storm
By Annah Matthews
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  ->Hebrews 13:15 NKJV

I am the daughter of a pastor.  I’ve grown up in church my entire life.  I’ve heard people say “Praise the Lord” for as long as I can remember.  Often praises come after we’ve heard reports of how God has miraculously worked out a situation in a supernatural way.  Sometimes we praise the Lord for a beautiful day.  We praise the Lord after we’ve had a great time of bible study or worship together.  Other times we praise the Lord when our favorite football team wins! 

In all these cases we are acknowledging God’s hand and presence in a situation and often times our praises are offered because it has worked out for us in a favorable way.  But did you know that we are also told to offer God our praise in situations that do not work out for us like we prayed.  

You didn’t get the job you wanted and needed so much.  The cancer has returned.  The baby you wanted so desperately has ended in miscarriage.  A loved one has been taken too soon.  These are not situations where you want to offer up praise up to the Lord.

So why does Scripture tell us to give thanks and praise for all things?  How are we to do that when our heart breaks and the situation did not turn out as expected?  

I don’t think that God expects us to turn around as soon as we hear the terrible prognosis and say, “Well thank you Jesus, just what I wanted.”  No, He expects us to grieve, to mourn, to feel sadness, to feel pain.  But He also wants us to remember there is hope.  

We serve a Risen Savior who has overcome every single adversity we have faced.  A sick friend, an ailing parent, the loss of a child, a divorce, a terminal disease, and this cruel world has been covered by the blood of Christ.  

There is so much hope to know that God is there to lovingly cover us in His arms and listen as we weep with pain and grief.  He comforts us like no other person on this earth can do.  He gives us the hope of the future.  A future where He can use our story as we come out of the pain and grief and learn to give comfort to others who have faced our situation.

He gives us hope for a place.  There’s a place in heaven where many of our loved ones stand today and rejoice in the Holy Presence of God.  A place where there will be no more sorrow, no more death, no more disease, and no more heartache.  

Christ is there today preparing a place for us and we will meet Him face to face one day.  

We don’t have to grieve like those who have no hope.  We serve a God who is so much greater than us.  Whose ways are not our ways and whose plans are not our plans.  We serve a God who loves us unconditionally.  Who gives us hope, who gives us Himself.

Are you struggling to find praise in the midst of a struggle, then praise Him for hope.  Praise Him that there is more to life than this present situation.  Praise Him for being the perfect comforter and counselor.

We live in a fallen world and if God could prevent every bad thing from happening to us He would.  Yet because of sin we all have to deal with the pain, the unfairness, and the heartache of life.  He sent His Son to cover this sinful and hurtful world and through this most precious sacrifice He gave us hope, salvation, and life.

Remind yourself of what you do know about God.

He loves you, He created  you, He thinks you are the most precious thing in the world, He grieves with you, He is the author of perfection, He is our Hope and His Son, is Your Savior.

O Lord, thank You that You love me and that You give me comfort like no other.  Thank You that are a God Who is well acquainted with all our grief and that You ache when I ache.

 Help me to remember that in the midst of struggles, trials, and utter heartbreak that You offer hope.  You are the author hope and salvation and I praise You that through the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus, that all things are put under Your feet.

Allow me to trust Your heart and believe that there is more to life than the heartache of this world.  Allow me to lean ever closer to You in the midst of fallen world.  Thank You God for hope, peace, Your love, Your comfort, and Your salvation.  Amen.

© 2013 by Annah Matthews.  All rights reserved.

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