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A Bitter Praise

When life is hitting you from all directions it can take a lot to muster up the strength to still sing His praises. Some find it hard to pray, praise, or even trust when things simply aren't going the way you planned. Even recently, I had a conversation with someone and he was unaware how to still speak life over a situation because of hurt and pain. This is something I understand. I liken it to people that might not want to tithe or be generous when already in dire straits financially speaking. And then we read 2 Corinthians 9:7 and determine that unless we're going to do so cheerfully, there's no need to give at all. But that's not true, however. Nowhere does it state that He won't bless or honor what you give if it was begrudgingly. It only state that He loves a cheerful giver.



Look at Job in the Bible. He lost it all, but still chose to trust in the Lord and praise Him. Yet it was God that allowed, not caused, Him to loose it all. In a matter of a day, animals were stolen, farmhands were killed, other animals burned, servants killed, and all of his children died. He lost everything, yet he later declared, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him." Job 13:15 KJV He was still able to trust and praise the Lord.


Here's the thing, someone else did the same thing in the Bible. I think of Naomi. She, too, suffered great loss. In the book of Ruth, she lost her husband along with her 2 sons. All she had left was Ruth, her daughter-in-law. After it was all said and done, she changed her name to Mara, which translates to bitter. But even so, she went back to where she knew God WAS. And even then, she still spoke blessings over others based on what God WOULD do. And there in the middle of it all, favor abounded. In the midst of her brokenness, bitterness, etc. She had offered up a bitter praise.


I'm not sure the current state of what you're enduring and dealing with in life. What I would recommend to you is that you offer up a praise to our Father in heaven even if you don't feel like it because maybe you are in trying times. Remember that in all things and at all times, there is power in your tongue.


Even if bitter, even if broken, even if frustrated or destitute, you can still praise Him in the midst.


Offering a Bitter "Praise"


Pray

In the midst of it all we must pray. Jeremiah 29:12 says, "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." Prayer is a 2-way conversation between us and God. The issue, however, is we rattle off our prayers, hit send, and then hang up the phone as if we're waiting on God to get the voicemail. Rarely do we spend time in His presence, sitting and waiting to see what He may have to say to us. The first thing any wise person should do in the midst of a trying time is to pray.

Repent

Sometimes we expect so much from God, right? We have this long list of things we desire. Or maybe it's even one thing that we've been waiting on. Or perhaps an event took place that has feeling like Naomi. Often we'll find the key is in our repentance. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19

Adoration

Imagine getting too comfortable with the presence and nature of God. Imagine no longer delighting in His glory and all that He is. Imagine humanizing Him, acting as if He's a friend that should always be present, at our beck and call. The Lord's prayer is one that I've been intentional about speaking daily. And not just reciting, but actually taking it in. The first lines alone makes me smile. "Our Father, whom art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name." I feel power in those words knowing that God is to be adored. You should be honored to take your worries to Him. He cares for you and wants to bless you.

Identify

When bitter, frustrated, hurt, inconsolable, and/or vexed, it pays to identify the pain. What's causing you the undesired emotion? Why is it a problem? Why does it have you in turmoil? Do you even know what you want God to do in the midst of it? Recall the centurion that spoke to Jesus about his servant being paralyzed. And Jesus had to ask, Shall I come and heal him?” Matthew 8:7. Seems like a "duh" but I think we should be a bit bolder in our prayers. Identify the pain, and ask Him for what we want.

Strategize

What can you do about the problem? Who may be able to help? There are times when we sit back waiting on God but God's waiting on us. Faith is taking the first step, trusting that the rod and staff will comfort and guide you. It's easy to get lazy in our faith, believing "any minute, God will fix this. He'll make a way." But you never know if He's waiting on you to move. Ask. Solicit help. Imagine someone saying to you, "I was waiting for you." It's easy to bypass the other steps and go straight into strategizing. I don't recommend this, as there is power in the other steps. The very breakthrough may lie there...

Educate

Read up on who God is. Know Him by His names. El Shaddai. Jehovah Jireh. Jehovah Rapha. Emmanuel. Do what I often do and look for the blue. As I read my Bible, anytime I see something that is a characteristic of God, I highlight it in blue. If it shows His patience, lovingkindness, faithfulness, giving nature, etc, it's in blue. It's wonderful to flip through and stop on the blue so that I don't forget in that moment exactly Who I trust, serve, worship, and am waiting on.


Take time to PRAISE, even if bitter. It still counts. And soon, it'll be a sweet aroma and taste.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;

blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8


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