Life has just felt hard lately. There are a lot of situations around me that I can’t change or fix and this has been taking a toll on me. I find myself more prone to anxiety and frustration. I keep thinking back to life a couple years ago when life seemed a little easier (My memory is probably overly optimistic – but nonetheless, life genuinely seems like it was easier a couple years ago).
This past Monday morning, I started telling God all the situations I was frustrated about and how I was also frustrated that He didn’t seem to be fixing them. As I poured out my complaint to God, He brought to mind the memory of an even darker day of life from my teen years and how He met me in it. I was reminded of the day my family buried my sister. After the burial, my Dad, Mom, 2 sisters and I were grieving together and comforting one another in the kitchen while listening to music. The song “I Exalt Thee” began playing and something within me snapped – in a good way. I remember my heart feeling set right and at peace by praising God even though my world was in turmoil.
Tim Keller writes in his study guide on Prayer about the transformative power found in simply praising God:
When sensations of God’s beauty fill you with joy, the confidence that flows out does not consist in some certainty that somehow God will not let anything bad occur. Rather, you become so full of joy in God, and so aware that neither death nor life, neither defeat nor victory, will break your relationship with him – that the circumstances of this life cease to bother you….The primary mark of real Christian experience is that you come to love God for the shining, satisfying magnificence of who he is himself, and not how he benefits you. To religious people, God is useful. To Christians, God is beautiful.”
I find that I must constantly remind myself that life is about glorifying and enjoying God forever. I fight against the current of reality when I seek to manipulate God into arranging my life as I would like. But when I pursue God for who He is regardless of my circumstances, I find a rightness, a joy, and a peace that surpass all understanding. I’m so thankful God reminded me of that truth again and drew me to Himself in praise this past Monday.
“Why am I so discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God!” Psalm 42:11