The CD played my new favorite song as I drove to work that morning. It was the end of winter and the damp air outside kept the windshield misty with rain. Tears fell down my face as I worshiped Him through song. Just a couple of days before, I had been diagnosed with kidney cancer. Surgery had been scheduled for a few weeks away. Life as I knew it had changed with a doctor’s visit. Yet, as the song “Behold the Lamb” played on, my heart was filled with peace, gratitude and thanksgiving.
No, nothing had changed around me. We were still trying to figure out how we would manage without my income for over a month while recovering from surgery. We were still trying to help our children understand and not be fearful because mommy had cancer. And, yes, I had moments when I felt scared. But in the midst of it all, I found something new: A new song of praise. And I am not talking about the beautiful melody that was playing on the speakers that day. I am talking about a shift in the praise paradigm as I knew it. For the first time in my life, I understood, deep down in my soul, what praise is really about. And I would never be the same.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow…
It’s easy to praise God when life is beautiful. When we have money, secure relationships and health, we usually find ourselves grinning from ear to ear and praising Him all day. And then… there comes a valley; a deep, dark one. We instinctively find it hard to continue our songs of praise. That’s just, well, normal human nature. It is indeed hard to praise God in the face of our troubles. It takes work. It takes diligence. It takes faith to see past our predicaments and into the immutability of a loving God.
A New Paradigm
If we are able to move our eyes from our ever-changing circumstances and fix them on the unchanging nature of our God, we change our praise paradigm from focusing on what God does to who God is. We change it from focusing on that which continually changes to the One who never does. Instead of dwelling on the hardship of unemployment, we fix our eyes on the promises of Jehovah Jireh, the Provider. Instead of focusing on the dread of cancer or any other physical illness, we worship Jehovah Rapha, the Healer. Instead of looking at our uncertainties, we fix our eyes on God’s attributes, which never change and never will:
We start worshiping…
Yahweh… the All Knowing God – who knows exactly what is happening to you. (Job 37:16)
Yahweh… the All Loving God – who loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you. As a loving Father, He will uphold you in the dark hour. (1 John 4:8)
Yahweh… the All Powerful God – the One who spoke the stars into existence is more than able to mend your broken life. (Genesis 18:14)
Yahweh… the All Present God – He is there for you when everyone else leaves. (Deuteronomy31:6)
Yahweh… the Sovereign God – who rules all creation and therefore knows what is best for us, even though we don’t always understand. (Isaiah 40:21-23)
Yahweh… The Holy God – who wishes to reveal to us flaws in our character that need to be changed… sins in our lives that need to go. It is through the fire that these impurities come to surface… that we may be molded, renewed, re-done. For His glory and our good. (Leviticus 20:26)
2012 was a year filled with long, dark valleys. My husband and I often mentioned that we would happily bid the year good bye when December 31 finally came. And so we did. We faced trials with cancer and the tragic death of my brother-in-law in June. As I look back, however, as hard as that year was, the joy of finding a stronger faith far surpasses the pain that these valleys brought along. We have seen God at work. We have sensed His presence and found the joy of worshiping Him “in spite of”. We learned to worship Him for whom He is and therefore found incredible peace in the midst of each storm. All because we have learned to shift the object of our praise from God’s gifts to God alone.
Pray for a shift in your praise paradigm: A re-focus on the object of your praise – from the gift to the Giver. This will change your spiritual life forever… as it did mine.
And in case you have never heard the song I mentioned… Below is a link for you. I pray it will help you worship the Lamb simply for who He is!
“Behold the Lamb” by Paula Stefanovich