Have you ever found it difficult to praise God? The worst year of my life was like a sad, old country song. Everything went wrong, even down to the dog dying. In the midst of heartache, suffering, temptation, and trials, I found myself struggling to praise God. Honestly, I felt a little mad at God for my circumstances. I knew deep in my heart God had not changed; it was only my circumstances that had changed.
Determined to be joyful during my sadness and anger, I kept reading the Bible. I knew it would have a solution to my problem of praising God. I decided to read the book of Hebrews, since it has examples of the “Heroes of Faith.” I just knew I would get inspired by those who were faithful under great trials, but I didn’t in that moment. I decided to finish the book of Hebrews anyway because I like to complete things. It wasn’t until the last chapter near the end that I found the encouragement I was looking for.
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:15-16, ESV)
Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God! I had never looked at praising God to be a sacrifice, but it is an act of giving up something cherished for the sake of something else regarded as more worthy. In order to praise and thank God for His goodness, I must give up my time to do so. I must also give up my pride of “I’ve been hurt,” and humbly lay that hurt at Jesus’s feet to proclaim He is indeed still good! Praising God is a spiritual sacrifice, and it pleases Him. I decided I would praise God even though I didn’t feel like it because His Word said to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to Him. I didn’t feel praise worthy of words of my own, so I prayed and praised with Psalms continually. I found my praise became beautiful worship that helped me stay focused on my Lord instead of my problems. The more I praised, the more I found words of my own again. While praising God, the hurt healed too. That healing just added to my adoration of God. God’s amazing grace and ultimate sacrifice for us always remains the same regardless of the current circumstances, and He deserves to be praised.