“When you have an attitude of praise, you won’t be able to outrun the goodness of God. What you send up comes back down.”
– Joel Osteen
In a world where decisions are increasingly based on feelings, praise is often reduced to a feeling.
Praise here being a descriptor of all things worship. Not just that “upbeat” part of a church services where all the “fast” songs are sang.
We do it when we feel like it and it feels right. And when it doesn’t? We don’t.
And that right there is the crux of the problem.
A spiritual discipline (worship) cannot be led by a natural disposition. That which is natural will only ever bear natural fruit. It takes spiritual effort to birth spiritual fruit.
I don’t know where we got this notion that praise must always feel good. Yet, the Bible has so many instances of worship in the midst of terrible circumstances e.g. at some point, Joshua and all those people going round the walls of Jericho must have gotten tired and wondered what the heck they were doing. If I’d been there, I’d probably have been grumbling before Day 1 was even over. But they submitted their thoughts and feelings to the counsel of God and steadfastly praised in obedience for 7 days.
Praise is honest. It’s not a denial of what is but a difficult choice to invite God to be there for us in hardship. To throw our anger, grief, frustration, disappointment, shame, and every other burden at Him knowing He can handle it better than anyone else. To trust in the goodness of God even when it’s not immediately apparent.
The whole point of the enemy stealing, killing and destroying is to make us turn away from God. But when we dig in our heels, raise our hands higher and lift our voices louder, we’re pretty much saying “NOT TODAY!”. Praise then becomes the spiritual weapon that turns things around. One that doesn’t wait for manifestation on this side of heaven. No. One that sings of the testimony in eternity and in so doing ushers it into being here on earth.
In the spirit, we don’t just praise because something has happened. We praise to make things happen.
Sometimes it will sound like a confident shout. Sometimes it will be quiet whispers and choked sobs in His presence. Sometimes it will be a seemingly endless stretch of silence between two friends who know the wounds are still far too raw for words.
Most times it won’t make logical sense.
That’s simply the madness of praise that calls us to be fools for God.
Even when the Michals in our lives fail to understand, may we always be like David before God. Undignified before men. Beloved by God.
“If you don’t know my pain, you’ll never understand my praise.”
– Juanita Bynum