Friday, February 25, 2011

Eyes for Glory

"As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more." -Psalm 71:14

"Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds." -Thomas Benton Brooks

My devotional this morning was on Psalm 71 and it spoke of praising in the midst of trials. Some trials seem small...others overwhelming. Right now, I'm just struggling with insecurity and overcoming my need to please people. Work has been stressful (to say the least) and the demands have been high...more than I feel like I have the strength for. But thankfully it's not my strength I need to rely upon but His. And in the midst of all these demands and character trials...I WILL find ways to praise Him just as the devotional mentioned...

The psalmist is in the midst of a crisis. He needs rescuing. We don't know the exact trial he is going through, and it doesn't really matter. We know his response. Though he has enemies who conspire against him (v.10), he knows where to find help. His problem leads to praise.

God is looking for those who will worship Him not only in spirit and in truth - as Jesus says in John 4:23 - but also in crisis. He seeks those who can look beyond the clouds that threaten and hover over them to His radiance that thoroughly surrounds them. And when He finds them, He blesses them.

That's a difficult maturity for most Christians to learn. Our natural reaction in a trial is to flee, or to beg for relief. And we have plenty of biblical examples; asking God for deliverance is thoroughly recommended throughout the Word. But is there panic in the asking? Our weak souls are easily unnerved, but there's a better pose: We can praise God, knowing that when we call, He will answer. He may not answer exactly the way we expect - though often He does - but He will answer, and His answer will be good. We can count on that. Those who do will pray for deliverance not in a panic, but in a rock-solid trust. God will save. It's His nature.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, and He has commanded us to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6). The apostle who penned those instructions would know. He went through all sorts of trials and tribulations, and he always found God faithful. He and Silas were able to sing praises from the depths of a Philippian prison. We should be able to do the same.

God went to great lengths to redeem us and call us His children. He did not intend for us to live in anxiety, wondering where each new threat will drive us. He gave us eyes for His glory; we are to see Him in every circumstance. After all, seeing the resurrection beyond the shroud is what our faith is all about.

From the "Worship the King" Devotional
Chris Tiegreen
So...anyone want to praise God with me?