Praising the Lord in All Times

I am an early riser.  My alarm clock first sounds at 4:45am.  After a few not so gentle smacks of the snooze button, my eyes begin to open to the new day at around 5:00am.   But during those in between moments of waking,  my ears are fully alive and busy taking in the sounds of the morning.  Those early morning hours are void of the chaotic sounds of the day.  There is peace and stillness in the air as the uninterrupted sound of a gentle breeze ushers in a new day.

At this time of the year, in my neck of the woods, 4:45am is veiled in darkness with little hint of light available.  This week I noticed something that had previously escaped my early morning, pre-conscious self: the beautiful songs of the birds.

Their songs have always filled the air.  But this week, the Lord used those simple songs to remind me of His truth, and in His loving, gentle way, showed me where I fall short.

On Monday, in the midst of the early morning darkness, the birds were singing a glorious song.  They awakened me in advance of my alarm.  Their melodies flooded my room.  As I opened my eyes and turned my gaze outside, there was darkness as far as the eye could see.  No golden hue on the horizon.  No pre-dawn grayness.  Just darkness.  Yet in the midst of the night, the birds were singing.  Their song was vibrant, robust, and melodious.  I was a bit taken back, first, by the fact that I had never noticed the intensity of their song, but more importantly, at how they lifted their songs despite the fact that they were enveloped in darkness.

As my alarm clock sounded, I quickly moved to silence it.  And as I lay there, I contemplated why the birds lifted their voices so exuberantly in the darkness.  While I may not do my best thinking at 5:00am, I concluded that those tiny creatures were singing because they anticipated the dawn.  Their God-given innate senses, told them that light and brightness were so very close.  I imagined that they sang because they knew of the beautiful day that would be upon them.

How often do I dread the new day?  How many times is my mind filled with the burden of all that needs to accomplished?  How often had I taken those few solitary, pre-dawn moments to thank the Lord for the new day at hand?  How often had I waited with great anticipation for another day?

After realizing that those tiny birds had a leg up on me, I thanked the Lord for the subtle reminders found through His creation and the lesson He had provided me with.

Yet, I would soon find out that the lesson had only begun.

A few days later, I was once again awakened by the birds.  And while their songs were once again vibrant and energetic, this morning they were also mingled with the sound of a steady rain.   As I lie there minute after minute watching as the darkness dispelled, evening gave way to the gray, gloomy, and clouded tones of a stormy day.  It was the type of morning that would cause a collective sigh upon waking.  Yet despite the chill, the steady rain, the rumble of thunder, and the shadowy grip of the morning, the birds sang.  Their song was no less exuberant, lacked no intensity, and was as bright as it was on the previous sun-filled morning.

So much for my theory about the birds singing as they anticipate the beauty of a new day.

Today they sang as they were being pelted by rain, swayed by a less than gentle wind, as thunder reverberated and lightning flashed, and as grayness filled the air.  There was no glimmer of sun, no warmth, no hint of the storm lifting.  Those birds weathered the storm all while singing their same melodious song.

And at that moment I saw the real lesson that the Lord had intended for my feathered friends to teach me:  God is worthy of praise not simply during the times when beauty and ease are within reach.  He is worthy of praise during the struggles and hard times in life.  He is worthy of praise when difficulties have a long season.  He is worthy of praise as we walk through the stormy periods of life.  He is simply worthy of praise at all times.  And as I questioned myself, I saw that I fell short in doing so.

Do I lift up my voice in praise in the midst of my troubles?  While fully enveloped in the struggles of life?   While under the weight and burden of trials?  How do I approach those less than easy times in life?  With hands raised in praise or with fists raised in anger?

When we know that the sun will emerge, when we know that we are on the cusp of brightness and light, it is easy to offer praise.  But when the day is bleak and dreary, when storms are forecast and the elements are sure to batter, do we still praise Him?

In all honesty, my answer would be no.  Praise the Lord as I walk through trials?  That is simply not in our human nature.  Yet God is not interested in us merely continuing on in our human nature.  He wants us to take on the nature of Christ every single day despite of the circumstances.  I believe that when we do this, we allow the Lord to truly work on our souls.

Back in the fall we were all set to relocate.  It had been such a long road to get to this point.  And to make a long story short, the Lord saw fit to stop that relocation.  I was devastated.  I was tired of all the no’s, weary of all the road blocks, exasperated by all the trying and crying and weeping over the confusion as to what the Lord was doing.  And as I sat at my desk with my tear stained face in my hands, I heard these words being sung in the background:

…I was lost, now I’m found by the Father
I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure
I’ve been given a hope and a future
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season You are good to me…

You were there in the valley of shadows
You were there in the depth of my sorrows
You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

Surely Your goodness pursues me
Surely Your heart is still for me
I will remember Your mercies all my days
Through every storm and gale…

And in that very moment, the Lord prompted me to make a choice: either wallow in sorrow as I journey through this valley or offer up praise to Him in the midst of the difficult journey.   And with an empty house, I replayed that song and with tears literally falling to the floor, I chose to lift up praise.   I sang that song over and over and over again that day.
It was one of those moments in life that is a defining moment, where you have been placed at a fork in the road and must make a choice as to how you will continue your journey.  My choices were clear.  I praise the Lord that He grabbed hold of my soul that day and steered me in the direction of praise.  And while not instant, the Lord has certainly made a change in my approach to life, specifically how I approach living through difficult times.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. —Psalm 42:11 (NIV)
Our God is in complete control.  He is in control of the blessings that come our way; He is in control of the hardships that we experience.  Ultimately, He sees the big picture of life  and is in the process of unveiling His plan.  How easy it is to completely forget that.  Regardless of which we are experiencing, our God is worthy of our praise.

7 thoughts on “Praising the Lord in All Times

  1. I love this, how the birds were used to speak such a powerful song to your heart!! You were moved and heart motivated and you have now shared here so that others like me can stop to think through this power song of the birds!! Thank you


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