“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places….” – Habakkuk 3:18-19
Funny story: I was driving from work the other day listening to a gospel station on Pandora, I believe it was the Ricky Dillard one. Like I always do, I had the music cranked up and was singing along, the contralto/tenor part (because yeah, that’s what I normally sing) to Maurette Brown Clark’s “One God”. With every key change I got louder, having a good old time. About halfway through the song, I noticed a car in the middle lane keeping pace with me. I didn’t look over, figuring whoever was watching me would go on because I wasn’t gonna stop singing. I was gettin’ my praise on, fam.
Eventually the car kept it moving, and I continued singing…and the cell phone rang. Through the car’s Bluetooth (because I wasn’t trying to break any traffic laws that day), a friend of mine asked me what was I doing, because from his view I was either having a concert or telling someone off. He said he kept honking trying to get my attention, but I wouldn’t look over.
All I could do was laugh and explain I was singing, and he laughed too.
That’s how it’s been for me since the world is in a strange season. With more news and more safety mandates, with companies trying to stay afloat and families caught up in that process, I’m feeling like the prophet Habakkuk; I will rejoice and praise God anyhow. While this pandemic is unprecedented in modern times, the awesome healing and restoring power of the Lord is not. He never stops doing either of these things, nor does He ever stop loving His children. Speaking personally, His track record of making a way out of no way, of coming in clutch, is impeccable. So how can I not praise Him through song, or deed, or even this blog?
There are a few things about what praise is and what it does that we’ve all got to remember. I’ll paraphrase and share my thoughts on a few of them from this great source at www.crosswalk.com:
Praise confuses the Enemy and sends Him running. Y’all, this is so very true. He cannot stand when we praise God in and out of season, especially when we’re in the “out” as we are today. This is because our very being is so laser-focused on God that the Enemy can’t worm his way past our spiritual armor to wreak havoc on our minds and hearts. Imagine the enemy throwing a fit like Rumpelstiltskin before running off to scheme against us once more.
Praise means no time for complaints and worrying. In addition to the mental and emotional effects of spending time in praise and not in complaints, there are the physical effects that are similar or really the same as those from the “Good Thoughts” post from several weeks ago. If singing “One God”, “Intentional” by Travis Greene, or even an old 100 like “Amazing Grace” helps me feel healthy and well all over, then I’m gonna be “sangin’” every day. If thanking Him for all that He’s done can have such a profound effect, then best believe I’m gonna thank Him every chance I get.
Praise invites the Lord’s presence. When the Lord’s Spirit draws close through praise, there is a feeling of connection, of relationship, for which there are no adequate words to describe. The cares of this world melt away, leaving just us with the Lord Our Father. The worries of the day vanish, leaving the creation with the Creator. In His presence, the reminder of who He is rings clear along with the reaffirmation that there is nothing too hard for God. And that includes COVID-19.
Praise allows God’s power to be displayed. This. Right. Here. This isn’t the only way for God’s power to be displayed, of course. But when we glorify the name of the Lord despite our circumstances, the atmosphere shifts. We remember all the marvelous things that God has done for us in the past, when we couldn’t see a way out. And we are reminded that if He did it once, He can do it again.
We can stand by and watch doors that were sealed shut burst wide open.
We can witness the weapons that were formed against us fail, just like Isaiah prophesied.
Sickness and disease are no more, leaving doubters baffled.
We can rejoice with the people who break through and break out of dead situations.
We can testify to the Lord who shatters the chains of the enemy, and who makes us to walk upon the high places.
So yeah, I’m gonna keep having the traveling gospel concerts in my car. I’m gonna stay prayed up and praise full through this current world situation and even after it. I will praise God anyhow, and be a witness to His signs, wonders, love, and power. Why?
Because He is the joy of my salvation.
Prayer: Lord God, I just want to praise You and say “Thank You” for simply being You. Good days and bad days, I will sing Your praise for You alone are worthy. Amen.