Is there one thing you can choose to be grateful for? In our pain, we long to know why God allows grief and hardship into our lives. New Living Translation But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. His son Cain, after killing his brother Abel, was driven from the land and forced to wander from place to place as the ground refused to yield its crops to him. For the last three years, I didn’t have enough sleep and rest everyday. God can use suffering to display his work in you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”. Jesus, You are the Lord of my life, and I submit to You and will never deny You no matter what happens. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. When trouble or disaster hits a large body of believers, the appropriate response is to bring a corporate lament to God whether during the main weekly service of a church or a special service. *** Verses 14-16: “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. Lately, I have been sick. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. Since more than one-third of all the psalms fall into this category, we are presented with a tremendous challenge. Amen. Four Ways To Pray In Suffering . The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. That both testaments frequently acknowledge that people face pain and distress[1] and that they bring them before God through prayer in open worship contrasts greatly with the way many Christians face it today. But this is not always so. Praise God!”. The Bible nowhere disguises the reality that life can be difficult. The use of lament in worship need not be reserved for exceptional times of tragedy. 1 Peter 5:8-11 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. Suffering results in praise and glory. “O God, why do you cast us off forever? In addition to serving as an aid in confession, psalms of lament can be used in many other ways. This is true whether the difficulty is the result of a natural disaster, traumatic experience, or chronic illness. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. As Brueggemann has pointed out, in the modern church “we have believed that faith does not mean to acknowledge and embrace negativity.”[2] This may be because we have been inordinately influenced by a success driven and forward looking culture that thinks all negatives can and should be overcome. “How long, O Lord? https://omf.org/blog/2019/03/26/worshipping-god-through-suffering Many things—the loss of a spouse through death, divorce, or dementia, inability to find a marriage partner or conceive a child, failure to find or keep a job, psychological or sexual abuse, physical pain, depression, etc.—rob us of the joy we desire. Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 1:6-7 Praise God in Suffering. SESSION 11: Praise: Releasing Faith. You are to rejoice when you share in the sufferings of Christ. How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? You knew exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded of. How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Ps 13:1–2). This will help us turn to praise and glorify God better. Noah, the righteous and blameless man, was required to build an ark in order to rescue his family and the animals of the world from the great depravity of other people in his time. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you (emphasis mine). This common reaction is deceptive, as it downplays our personal experience of pain and contradicts the biblical testimony of how the saints of old and the Christ responded to their troubles. In my experience, suffering, loss, and grief have been very effective in blocking my ability and desire to praise God. How do I praise God when suffering surrounds us and people are dying? As Jesus told his disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). His final words were likewise drawn from a psalm of lament: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46; cf. When You Feel Surrounded, Fight Your Battles with Praise. [3] Or it may spring from a misplaced conviction that followers of Jesus should experience no problems in life. Oftentimes, God allows you to go through something not because you’ve done something wrong, but because when you come out on the other side, your story will hold the key to help someone else. https://omf.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/omf-logo.png, https://omf.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/tree-in-desert-150x100.jpg, How Family Visits Care for Missionaries’ Families at Lunar New Year, Singapore, Support Ministry, The Task Unfinished, Mission Practice, Mission Theory, Support Ministry. As the crisis that leads to the lament may last for a long period of time before it is resolved, we may need to pray the psalms of lament over and over again as we face our trials. After feeling impressed to go into ministry, I struggled with depression for over a year. (the fiery ordeal) ***Verse 13 says, Abut to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. Worship is not merely a matter of singing from a joyful heart about the wonders of who God is and the marvelous things he has done. Laments are therefore primarily intended to help people present their needs to God and ask him to resolve their difficulties and bring them back to praise. Third, praise discharges strength in faith, which causes God to move on our behalf. The psalms of lament—particularly the communal laments—also benefit worshippers by showing them that the psalmists could feel that God was absent. Monday, November 20th, 2006 at 11:39 pm in Seeds Of Faith. In a numb state of mind, the words fail to come and you struggle to connect with God in your suffering. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps 10:1). He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Moreover they show that the experience of anguish and puzzlement in the life of faith is not a sign of deficient faith, something to be outgrown or put behind one, but rather is intrinsic to the very nature of faith.[6]. Sadly, for many churches today the penitential longing of Advent and Lent has been eclipsed by the glory of Christmas and Easter (and often obliterated by the glitter of commercialism). So let’s spend some time together praying the Scriptures, offering the Lord a prayer of praise!. And whether trouble comes from without or within, lament, as a God-given resource, empowers us to present our needs to God and ask him to resolve our difficulties and bring us back to praise. Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Let your tears flow freely when your calamity comes. Indeed, as the believing community acknowledges that life is fraught with danger and disorder, these prayers become “an act of bold faith.”[9] No matter what brings our difficulties, these prayers give us the opportunity to express tremendous confidence in God. The inclusion of lament may allow those who may have felt marginalized due to their problems to enter into worship in a new way. When you and I hurt deeply, what we really need is not an explanation from God but a revelation of God. But that’s certainly not in keeping with everything we hear about what is supposed to happen when we become Christians. They begin to question God and even become mad at Him. [14] Shevuot 15b; Rambam, Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 11:12. Reaching beyond the individual, when a church, a nation, or the world is facing a crisis of some sort, services of lament are in order. In spite of the passing of time, it seems that God will do nothing to deal with the problems his people face. Praise God!”. Jesus, You are the Lord of my life, and I submit to You and will never deny You no matter what happens. Thankfully the Bible not only alerts us that we can worship in times of pain, it also helps us along the way by telling stories of people who called out to God in their need and preserving literary forms designed to be used by those bringing laments to God. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. If you ask most people, they will tell you it is easy for them to thank God when things are going well, but it’s not so easy to praise God when life throws them a curveball. Suffering can lead a person into Christian ministry. 1. Ps 22:1). (See Galatians 5:2223.) You question, “Are you really listening, God?” That’s ok, friend. All this will enable you, in a special way, to be able to minister to others. These questions show how difficult it is for many of us to come to God in worship in the midst of personal suffering. My heart rejoices in reverent praise to You my God, and my grateful thanks will resound throughout eternity. According to Paul, the apostles faced pressures that were so far beyond their ability to cope that they despaired of life (2 Cor 1:8; cf. In recognition that life is not always joyful, it allows us to live through the difficult times in God’s presence. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13-14. You restored me to health and let me live. And let the rest of us weep with those who weep. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34; cf. This situation is unacceptable because it marginalizes suffering and those who suffer and because it ignores a great body of biblical material that was written to help people through difficult times. Even so, their lack of specificity greatly helps those who use the psalms as they can be adopted to suit many different circumstances. Psalms that can be prayed for the sick include Psalms 20; 38; and 41. When you stop worrying and trying to fix it all on your own, you allow the space for God to step in. The more you depend on him and sense his support, the more you will want to give thanks. Their psalms of lament provide models of the right way to complain to God. He similarly informed them that, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20). The closest that most of us have to experiencing relief from grief or pain through lament comes through praying prayers of confession and absolution. But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 13) Psalm 63:3-4 (NIV) Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Use of money remained pretty much the same. [14] While they may be overstating the case here, their warning should be heeded lest we descend into sub-Christian practice. Is there one thing you can choose to praise God for during the pain you’re in? You know these. 1 Peter 3:13-15 Philippians 1:27-30 I don’t want any more suffering! 7 Benefits of Praising God in Hard Times 1) God Will Fight For You. Joining their brothers and sisters in lament gives sufferers an opportunity to take hold of the faith of others who are grieving along with them or have grieved in the past. As this cycle of feasts developed in early church history, two penitential seasons—Advent and Lent—took prominent place. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why are you downcast, O my soul? Suffering can create an opportunity for witness. )Praise God that He is love (I John 4:7-8), and that because of Jesus’ sacrifice you know what love looks like (I John 3:16). If you are asking those questions, then this Bible reading plan is for you! If you want to be made completely whole so that you learn to live daily in harmony with God, then practice offering the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. Far from being limited to singing songs of praise, worship takes hold of all of life as we live it out in humble service before God. [8] Though generally categorized as psalms of lament, some scholars refer to them as psalms of complaint or psalms of petition. God’s perceived failure to help prompts them to ask the questions “Why?” and “How long?” “Why, O Lord, do you stand afar off? Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. The praise He gets today is far outweighed by the curses and profanity hurled at Him. In the beginning Adam’s sin forced him from the blissful garden to face an existence of painful, sweaty toil in order to have food to eat. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? To him be the power for ever and ever. Suffering. The psalms of lament are, from an emotional point of view, the opposite of a hymn of praise, as they are experienced as “psalms in a minor key” that provide words for those in trouble or despair so that they can raise their complaints and petitions to God. You can praise God anywhere. 2 Corinthians 1:7-9 Not even Jesus was preserved from life’s pressures and trials. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. Although the words used in these prayers are often taken from the New Testament, they reflect themes that reverberate throughout the psalms but are most closely related to the seven psalms of penitence which have been recognized from the early Christian centuries—Psalms 6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; and 143. You may not have the strength to raise your hands. For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2000), 219–23. Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. Although the Hebrew words are immediately associated with the actions of lament, the composition is more important for our purposes as we study the biblical texts. He longs for us to come to him, talk to him, bring our suffering to him. You may not have the mental clarity to articulate your theology of suffering. While psalms of lament should be used when praying for the sick, to limit them to that function implies that those suffering from other problems are less significant. As he hung on the cross Jesus cried out to the Father, not with praise, but with words drawn from one of the lament psalms: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Psalm 42:9-11 So God comforts us in all our afflictions. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. [4] The psalmists experienced all the seasons of life. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. don’t tell me that! When you read Psalms, you can find so many verses about God’s children singing praise even in the midst of hard times. Or maybe you’re filled with fear and doubting God’s goodness. At such times, bringing heartache and confusion to God may be the only thing that makes worship possible. If you are a mom, I know you can relate with me. Thank You, Abba, for your perfect work. [4] In addition to the lament psalms, other biblical examples of lament include various passages in Job (especially 29–31), Jeremiah (11:18–12:6; 15:10–21; 17:12–18; 18:18–23; 20:7–18), Lamentations, and Habakkuk (1:2–4). 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