“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised”
Job 1:21 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but for me, it is a whole lot easier to praise the Lord when things in life seem to be going okay than when everything seems to be falling apart. What does that even look like?
In chapter 1 of Job, we see the first of his many tests. He has just been informed that his servants, his sheep, his oxen and most importantly his children are gone. Immediately following the news, verse 20 says “at this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship” Can you imagine?? Job doesn’t hide his grief, but he also doesn’t forget who God is and how worthy he is of our praise.
The storms that we weather in life are hard. I don’t think we should ignore pain and grief and cover it up with a big smile and a “that’s okay, Jesus loves me” when that’s not what our hearts are feeling. Praise God that Jesus does love us, but in Psalm 142 we see David pour out his complaint before the Lord. We’re called to pour out our hearts to the Lord and tell him when we’re hurting, angry, frustrated, confused—He longs to hear our hearts.
At the same time, even when we’re hurting, God is still worthy of our praise. I once heard a woman named Jennifer Rothschild speak at a women’s conference. At the age of 15, she learned that she had a degenerative eye condition that had no cure, and she would lose her sight within the year. As she discussed her journey through pain and suffering, her words that day ministered to my heart and have never left me. She said, “It might not always be well with our circumstances, but God has made it well with our soul.”
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll;Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
I know my heart is far from Job and Jennifer’s, but I pray that my heart will be strengthened to love and praise God no matter what my circumstances. Even when I’m hurting, grieving, or broken hearted; in the midst of the pain and suffering; through the exciting times and the hard times; we still have a Savior who loves us unconditionally, who has our best interest at heart, whose mercies are new every morning, who has forgiven us completely, and has paid the ultimate price through His death and resurrection.
“Blessed be Your nameOn the road marked with sufferingThough there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name”
Lord God, you are always worthy of our praise. Even when our hearts are broken and we feel like we can’t go on, you are the same God yesterday, today, and forever. I pray for a heart that is real with you. I pray for a heart that pours out my complaints to you, but God I also pray for a heart that always knows how good you are. Even when it’s hard to see in my current circumstances, I pray that I will never forget how worthy you are of my praise. Lord, strengthen my heart, and enable me to love and praise you no matter what.