What To Do In The Worst Of Circumstances
"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to him with psalms."
How many of the people of the Lord actually sing to him and bring to him thanksgiving? We're too busy. Our attention is on the cares in our world. We know God is there, we know all comes from him, but we can't seem to make time for him, nor do we have time to speak to him other than when we need him. We're glad we can go to church on Sunday because there we will worship him and fulfill that "obligation," but how can one relegate worship to our God to one day a week?
Friends, we have to make time. There is nothing in our lives more important than praise and thanksgiving to the One who provides for us and sustains us. When you're driving in your car, you can be singing. When you're upon you bed, you can be singing.
Praise and thanksgiving are two of the most powerful tools we have in our walk with the Lord. The great apostle Paul was never too busy to bring his love and worship to the Lord. Let's look at an incident in his life in which he gave a response that almost no other human being would even think to give. He and Silas lay bloodied and bound in a dungeon. What could be worse than that?
"And when they had laid many stripes on them,
they threw them into prison,
commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison
and fastened their feet in the stocks."
It's almost beyond belief what their response to these terrible straights was:
"But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
and the prisoners were listening to them."
You scratch your head and wonder "How on earth...???" Singing hymns to God??? While laying black and blue, bloodied and bound in a dungeon?
Prisons in those days were not like the prisons of today. There was no tv to watch, no three meals a day, this was a dungeon, cold, dark, damp. It's hard to imagine how on earth these men could enter into praise and thanksgiving while in such pain and in such a terrible place, it's SO contrary to human nature. When we're hurt, when we're unjustly accused, unjustly punished, treated unfairly, our reaction is a deep and overwhelming anger, a brooding over the injustice of it all. But Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God in their pain !!!
What did they know that we don't know? What kind of depth did they hold in their relationship to God? What could possibly motivate a hurting human being to be singing while in the worst possible circumstances?
A surrendered heart singing praise to God in terrible circumstances evokes a response from heaven:
"Suddenly there was a great earthquake,
so that the foundations of the prison were shaken,
and immediately all the doors were opened
and everyone’s chains were loosed."
Oh WOW! Put yourself there. Can you imagine seeing that?! The response from heaven was an earthquake! They must have been stunned!
A short testimony: one night when I was in a terrible situation, I was laying in bed late at night. It was totally dark because my bedroom was on the backside of the house and there wasn't even a light pole anywhere out back, it was totally dark. In that darkness, with tears rolling down my face, I raised my arms in praise to God - and suddenly I saw light coming out of my arms. I was absolutely astonished as I realized this was a response from heaven.
And another short testimony: my sister, my daughter, my granddaughter and I were sitting around my kitchen table talking and praying. We were grieving the death of a loved one. I began speaking of this story of Paul and Silas in the dungeon and how they had so much love for God that they were singing praises to him in their terrible state, and how there was an earthquake and the prison doors flew open. As I was telling this story, the four of us sitting there around my kitchen table, the table and the whole room began to shake as a small earthquake took place even as I was finishing this story. We looked at each other absolutely shocked, and we knew that God was affirming to us the importance of living in a state of praise and thanksgiving no matter what the circumstances. The Lord gave us this absolute confirmation that in all circumstances we must maintain an attitude of praise and thanksgiving, and that he would move heaven and earth in response.
If you're in a terrible situation, refuse the demands of your human nature and turn your heart instead to praising God for all that he is, and for all that he does. Bring to him thanksgiving for all you can think of. Sing hymns to him. And then watch for the response from heaven.
If you’re struggling and in desperate need of answers, here’s a series of messages that might greatly encourage you:
When Life Hurts