By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
We all know the world seems crazy right now. As we face a global pandemic together, replete with worry, job loss, school closings, and more...our hearts can feel heavy and burdened. But today, as I was reading in the Bible, some verses seemed to jump out at me with this reminder:
Although it may feel strange, the most important thing we can do right now, or in the middle of any crisis, is to praise God.
Psalm 18:1 tells us the heavens declare the glory of God, the skies display His craftsmanship. It says day after day they speak, and night after night they make Him known. Our greatest strength in times of uncertainty is God. So, to find freedom from anxiety, worry, and overwhelm, we can begin by praising nine things we know to be true of God.
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1. God Is Our Creator
God created us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Every little part of you was thought up long ago. God knows everything about us. How many hairs we have on our heads (Luke 12:7) and our every thought (Psalm 139:2).
2. God Is Our Shield
God told Abram in Genesis 15:1 that God was his shield. God is also our shield (Psalm 28:7). God knew we’d need protection. Before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve walked with God. They were safe. But once sin entered the world, things changed (Genesis 3).
God provided the protection man needed from the beginning, and he is still our shield (Psalm 115:9).
Psalm 18:2 tells us that the Lord is our rock and our fortress; someone we can take refuge in. When things scare us, we can try hiding, but that gives no comfort. If we run, let it be to God where we can be safe.
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3. God Is Our Father
4. God Answers Prayer
Do you feel that sometimes your prayers are not even heard? It’s not true. God tells us in Isaiah 65:24 that He will answer before we call and while we are still speaking, He will hear.
There are times God’s answer is not the answer we want. But by praising Him through our trials, we learn to trust in God’s wisdom. He see that God knows what our future holds, because he holds our future.
Psalm 91:14-16 tells us that not only will God set us securely on high, but when we call on Him, He will answer us.
In Exodus 3:7, The Lord saw the affliction of His people and was aware of their suffering. God knows when we hurt. Sometimes when God allows our hurt, it feels like He doesn’t care. But we can’t trust our feelings, for they are fickle. We can trust our Father.
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5. God Is Our Healer
One of God’s names is Jehovah Rapha: The God who heals. Jeremiah tells us in Jeremiah 17:14, Heal me and I will be healed…for you are the one I praise.
In Exodus 23:25, the people were instructed to worship God and He would take away sickness.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 God tells his people to humble themselves and pray. He tells them to seek His face and turn from their ways. God is listening when we pray, and God does heal.
6. God Is Almighty
As humans, we get tired. Isn’t it wonderful to know that Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might?
Isaiah 40:28 tells us, the Lord is the everlasting God...He does not faint or grow weary. Can you even imagine never growing weary? When we go through our trials, when we struggle in life, we get exhausted. But not God. He never tires.
No wonder God invites us to come to him when we are weak and heavy burdened (Matthew 11:28). God wants to give us rest for our souls. He knew we would get tired.
Colossians 1:11 tells us that we can be strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might.
Remember God is the one who made the earth, and Jeremiah 10:12 tells us God made it by His power.
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7. God Is Patient
God is not slow about His promise, rather He is patient toward you (2 Peter 3:9). Just like He was patient waiting for us to understand about the cross.
Remember when Noah built the ark? God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark. And He knew only Noah’s family would believe (1 Peter 3:20).
God began a good work in us and he will complete it (Philippians 1:6). How’s that for patience?
8. God Is a God of Hope
When we were little, we used to say things like, “I hope I get that gift I want.” Or, “I hope we can…” Hope like that was more about our own immediate ‘wants.’
I love how Psalm 42:11 says it: I will yet praise Him.
Faith is confidence in what we hope for, without seeing it (Hebrews 11:1).
We can exercise our faith by praising Him in all circumstances.
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9. God Is Worthy of Praise
But how can we praise God when things look bleak? It makes sense when God answers our prayers. It’s easy to praise when our loved one who is sick recovers. But what about when things are not going as we want them to go...can we still praise God?
Oh, if we could just hold onto this truth, it would make all the difference in the world:
We are to praise God at all times. Not because of what he does, but because of who he is!
When God answers our prayer and we praise him, we’re doing so because he answered what we asked. But when difficult circumstances remain, and we choose to trust God, that is pleasing to him (Hebrews 11:6). Because that takes faith. Faith in God alone, not in what He can do.
When Jesus went to see Mary and Martha after their brother, Lazarus died (John 11:41-43), Jesus thanked God for hearing him, before anything happened. That is faith.
Let’s look next at what scripture says about praise.
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Scripture Tells Us to Praise God
I’m sure we all have our own personal lists of things we can praise God for. But here are some specifics from scripture:
Praise God for his glory and might. (1 Chronicles 16:28)
Praise God for his wisdom and power. (Daniel 2:20)
Praise God for Jesus. (Ephesians 1:6)
Praise God for his unfailing love. (Isaiah 63:7)
Praise God for his peace. (1 Kings 8:56)
Praising God in Trials Is Our Warfare
The only one who does not want us to praise God is the enemy of our souls. Did you know that Satan was once a beautiful angel who fell? (Isaiah 14:12-15)
Satan is the one who wants us to look at things around us, or anything that will get our eyes off of God. So when we choose to trust God, and even go further and we praise God, the enemy is defeated. And our faith grows.
Reflect on the things God has done for you. Look up at the sky and how the earth proclaims who God is. Even the mountains and hills will break forth with singing and the trees will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12).
Are we going to be silent, and not praise Him, while nature proclaims what we know to be true?
Praise God, our creator, our shield, the one who answers prayer, the one who heals. The one who is patient, loving, and almighty. Praise Him, our Father, and our hope. Praise God who is always worthy of praise.
Let’s praise God together in prayer:
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A Prayer of Praise for Who God Is
Father, we lift our hearts to you. We want to praise you, Lord, for who you are. We want to thank you for all you’ve done. Thank you that we have mouths to praise you. Thank you we have air to breathe. Thank you for our loved ones.
God, you are almighty, you are all-powerful. And yet, you are gentle and kind and so, so patient with us. Thank you, Lord, for Jesus. And thank you for your Word which we can read when we get afraid. God, we praise you. Because You are God. In your Son’s precious and Holy name, Amen.
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Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.