I once heard, in a sermon, a story about giving a sacrifice of praise to the Lord that significantly changed my outlook on difficult situations and seasons. (I have since looked for this sermon and can’t seem to find it. It was by Bill Johnson. If anyone knows what that is, please let me know so I can link it.)
He told a story about being in a room where a loved one passed away. There was a wave of grief and loss and pain. He said (not a direct quote here, this is what I remember), “Let’s sing. In Heaven there will be no sadness or pain, so this is a rare moment in time where we can give God a sacrifice of praise. We must steward this moment well.“
I've carried that in my head and heart. How very true. In Heaven I will be able to cast crowns and sing “Worthy!“ and “Faithful are You Jesus!” in complete joy and a full heart. But only on Earth can I give Jesus praise from pain. What a worthy sacrifice and gift to give from grief. It truly makes every moment redeemable for the Kingdom of God. It turns every situation soil to sow seeds of devotion that will grow into mighty oaks of righteousness.
This week our house got hit with a stomach bug, which is far from persecution, but it has been nonstop laundry, and cleaning, and middle of the night “Mama!!!!” tears for me. It's been frustrating, sad, and exhausting. In these moments I have to choose:
Be selfish and snappy with myself and others due to the situation.
Praise the Lord in the place of frustration and exhaustion…aka give Him a sacrifice of praise. Choose His goodness even through the situation doesn’t feel good.
Practically that looks like singing songs of worship aloud in my home when I want to sit and cry. It sounds like letting my children hear me pray blessings and speak identity. Narrating my situation in faith. So forth and so on.
If you are in a painful place this week, thus being a broken heart, tending to a sick child, grieving over the loss of a loved one, etc., try to remember, you can give the Lord a precious gift right now that you will never be able to give Him ever again.
Hebrews 13:15, "Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name." Your devotion in difficult times is such a gift. A weighty, weepy one, I know. But dear friend, He is a Kind King.
So kind, in fact, that in this space of taking your tears and turning them into crowns to lay at Jesus' feet, He in return crowns you with joy. He doesn’t have to, but when we give, He gives. It’s in His kindness to care for us and remind us of the Heavenly places we are seated in. He is the Prince of Peace, not the Prince of Sorrow. He doesn't make you sit in darkness. He meets you in it. He sets a table and lights a candle and expels the darkness. He invites us to dine and rejoice in His faithfulness, and in this state of faith, it will bring glory to God. I think many times in these places we slide into consumption mode of "Jesus, get me out of this! Fix this! Do something for me." when really our posture should be "Jesus what can I give You from this? What seed can I plant right now that will bring a forest of glory for the Kingdom of God?" (Speaking in analogies here). Isaiah 61:3, "To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory." Praying for you right now, that you would feel the nearness of Christ and that He would grant you strength and courage to redeem the time for the Kingdom by praising right where you are. He deserves it all. Darkness doesn't have to stay, light a candle my friends. Praise is a worthy weighty gift. He is worthy, Abby ***Don't forget... The Cirkles are cheering you on. PS - I've been worshiping with this new album this week. I so admire Steffany's walk with the Lord. She made this album in honor of her dad who recently passed away. It's many of his favorites that helped shape her faith.