Best of Daily Reflections: Praise the Lord AnywayDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Your enemies have mocked me, O LORD; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes. Praise the LORD forever! Amen and amen! (Psalm 89:51-52)
It's easy to praise God when life is good. It's a gorgeous spring day . . . praise the Lord! I just got a raise . . . praise the Lord! My doctor gave me a clean bill of health . . . praise the Lord! I got an "A"' on my final exam . . . praise the Lord!
But what about when life isn't good? The wind chill factor today is minus 25 degrees . . . praise the Lord? I just lost my job . . . praise the Lord? My doctor says it's cancer . . . praise the Lord? I'm going to fail that class . . . praise the Lord?
Psalm 89 exemplifies praising God when life is hard, praising God anyway. This psalm begins by singing of God's unfailing love (89:1-2). Moreover, all of heaven will praise God's great wonders (89:5). God's faithfulness to his people is a cause for rejoicing (89:9). This faithfulness is centered in God's covenant with David and his promise that David's dynasty will go on forever (89:19-37). But then Psalm 89 takes a dark turn, even accusing God of renouncing his covenant with David (89:39). The psalmist cries out, "O LORD, how long will this go on? Will you hide yourself forever?" (89:46). The penultimate verse of Psalm 89 laments, "Your enemies have mocked me, O LORD; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes" (89:51).
But then comes the startling conclusion: "Praise the LORD forever! Amen and amen!" What? Praise the Lord who has allowed his people to suffer, who has strengthened the enemies of Israel, whose unfailing love seems to have disappeared? Praise this Lord? Now?
Yes, that's where Psalm 89 leaves us, without explanation, without apology. Yes, there is an unresolved tension here, something that can't be rationalized away. The psalmist shows unsettling freedom in his protest against God, even accusing God of breaking his promises. Yet, he ends on a note of praise, and not just praise, but eternal praise. In the midst of pain and suffering, praise the Lord! When you can't figure out what God is doing, praise the Lord! When God feels very distant, praise the Lord!
I'm not suggesting that this is easy to do. In fact, I find this to be exceptionally difficult. Thus, I am challenged by today's psalm to do what does not come naturally, to praise the Lord at all times, to praise the Lord anyway.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When your life is difficult, are you able to praise God anyway? Why or why not? What helps you to praise God in the midst of suffering and disappointment?
PRAYER: You know, dear Lord, how readily I can praise you when my life is good and how hard it is for me to praise you otherwise. I confess that my worship is way too dependent on my circumstances, rather than on your unchanging character. Forgive me when I fail to praise you because I'm confused or unhappy with you. Help me, by your grace, to praise you at all times, to praise you anyway. Amen.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All week on The High Calling, we’re focusing on God and Technology. Do you wonder how to stay focused on God in the age of screens? Join us each day this week for articles and reflections on serving God in a world of technology. Do you know someone who loves technology? Invite them to consider a Christian perspective on technology by sharing one of this week’s articles via email or social media.