Strange instruction from Scripture: Praise God in suffering

Light after darkness

What does the Bible say to do when something wonderful happens? Praise God. That’s obvious enough. What does the Bible say to do when something awful happens? When life is so awful that we wonder if God cares at all? Praise God. Now that’s just not fair!

But it works. When we’re suffering and feel like God doesn’t care, that’s all it is: just a feeling. In reality, he does care, but not necessarily the way we’d find most comfortable. We want to get out of our troubles as quickly as possible. He wants to give us long-term joy and conform us to the image of Christ.

Could it be that doing things his way will solve our immediate problems faster? Look at the deliverances described in Psalm 107. We see people enduring various kinds of suffering. They cried out to the Lord (vv. 6, 13, 19, 28) and he delivered them.

The refrain culminates a couple of verses later (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31), and I love the rendering in the KVJ and NKJV: Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord [“praise the Lord” in KJV] for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

It sounds like a petition. People do not praise God enough for his goodness. Too often our prayers in crisis consist of demands to know why, accusations that God does not really love or care. Railing against God is not the same as crying out to him.

Crying out to God requires acknowledgement that he does care, love, and know best–in other words, it requires praise. Then it requires trusting him enough to notice his provision. We’ll be blind to it if our focus remains glued to the problem and how awful we feel about it.

Praise God in the midst of suffering. Keep at it, not for a few sentences, but for as long as it takes. As a result, you will find grace and peace in the midst of suffering. That will give you hope. And in hope you will find deliverance. Guaranteed. Praise God!


Photo credit: Light after darkness Some rights reserved by JD|Photography The following poem appears as the caption to the picture:

Light after darkness, gain after loss,
Strength after suffering, crown after cross.
Sweet after bitter, song after sigh,
Home after wandering, praise after cry.

Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain,
Sight after mystery, peace after pain.
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast,
Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.

Near after distant, gleam after gloom,
Love after loneliness, life after tomb.
After long agony, rapture of bliss!
Right was the pathway leading to this!

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