Praise Without Ceasing

How could Paul say, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (I Thessalonians 5:18)? What enabled the Psalmists who wrote of pain, suffering, of being pursued by enemies, to inspire others to praise?

The Psalmists' secret was that they looked at everything in the light of God's sovereign power and control and His unfailing love and mercy. Without such knowledge, the Psalmists would have been defeated, also. "I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord" (Ps. 27:13 KJV). It was only as they chose to believe that an all-powerful God is good that they could write of cruelty, sickness, and even death with reverent praise.

For instance, Psalm 63 was written at the time of Absalom's rebellion. Yet, despite David's own grief, he wrote, "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you" (vs. 3). He was not being insensitive to his son, but he was trusting in the love of the One who controlled all things.

We do not chide those in the midst of grief or pain because they aren't praising the Lord, but we can pray that God will reveal His love to them in ways they can grasp.

Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, but at midnight they began to sing. Perhaps it took them until midnight to get over their discouragement at being prisoners. But once they began praising and singing, God came and accepted their rejoicing and delivered them.

Give us grace, Father, to deliberately choose to worship You to give You the praise You deserve.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6).