All of us go through challenging times in life. Most of us have been through times where we were not in the best of moods, and honestly, we were not in the mood to sing praises to our God. Maybe we were upset with Him, or we didn’t understand why we were going through such pain. If we are called to worship Him in spirit and truth, how should we be praising God in difficult times? Is there a right way?
In this article, we will look at how to face life challenges, and at the same time honor God with our lips and life without being hypocrites. Enjoy and be blessed 😉
When we hear “praise God anyway”- Is it right?
Often in the church context, we hear people saying: “No matter what you are going through, praise God anyway.” Probably some of us have heard those words and experienced a sense of being abandoned and not understood. We might have felt like we weren’t good enough in order to do that, or even that we were hypocrites.
Well, let me share some good news, none of this nonsense is right. Of course, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be praising God in difficult times, but I’m saying that we shouldn’t pretend that everything is going well when it’s not. God knows our suffering, and if we simply go to Him pretending that just because we are repeating some kind of religious words, things will start to go better, hmm… allow me to say that I think God has a better way for us.
Let’s look at some examples of how people approached God when they were going through difficult times.
David, a man after God’s heart
Let’s look at David talking to God during a difficult time in his life.
Psalm 142 New King James Version (NKJV)
A Plea for Relief from Persecutors
A Contemplation of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.
I cry out to the Lord with my voice;
With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.
2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.
4 Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.
5 I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
6 Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.
7 Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”
- In the first verses, we see David being honest with God. He was not denying his suffering or pretending it was not there.
- In verse 5, David proclaims the character of God and appeals to His nature.
- In verse 6, David calls out for help, knowing God is the solution.
- In verse 7, David ends by confessing the future since he knows the love and faithfulness of God.
David is a great example of how we can be praising God in difficult times. David was always sincere with Him and this is the way. Here we see that actually we need to be honest with God, so if we are facing a time of struggle, let’s open our heart and let’s share how we are feeling or doing at that particular moment.
The thing that we see in the Psalm, and especially from David, is that there is always a turning point where the Psalmist turns from sharing His struggle and looking at the problem, to looking at God in trust and confessing His character, knowing He is the solution for the problem and that He will make a way out of it.
God never intended for us to praise Him without relating to Him. He wants us to be honest, and if we deny what we are going through it can’t be real. He wants us to trust in Him. Only then will we be able to praise him in difficult times in a way that is sincere and honest.
A better way
Here is how we can summarize the steps of approaching God during a hard time:
1. Lament/crying out, being honest with God – we open our hearts and we share how we are feeling, what we’re going through
2. Praise/expressing the character of God – we appeal to God’s nature and character; we proclaim His nature
3. Request/asking for help – we know God is the solution for our problems. We remember what He did in the past for us
4. Confess and proclaim the future – knowing His faithfulness, we confess and proclaim the future (confession of hope)
As we saw, there is a proper way to approach God during a hard time. The difference between complaining and opening up our heart with Him is based on the HOPE we have in Him. When we surrender to God, we can receive His love and rest, and be free to worship Him and enjoy His presence.
If we just complain, God will not be happy, and He won’t allow us to enter into His rest as is mentioned in Hebrews (5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, From Hebrew 4:5-6 NKJV).
However, if we if pour out our suffering by sharing how we are doing AND then (although we are suffering) we hold on to Him, we trust Him and believe in His promises, He will appreciate our sincerity and he will comfort us. (22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23 NKJV)
- Let’s remember that “without faith it’s impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
- The difference is simply in how we see the future.
- He is is our hope, He is our anchor that holds within the veil (Hebrew 6:19).
- Only by applying these principles will we be able to praise God in difficult times in a sincere but powerful way.
The mind-soul connection
What do we often hear:
- Praise God anyway!
- Worship is a choice! It doesn’t matter how you feel!
Is there something wrong here?
If we praise and worship God in this way, our heart is not connected with our mouth. There is a lack of reality and our words are meaningless since they don’t reflect the truth.
We lack power when we use the wrong/false words (Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”)
Praising God in difficult times – My experience
I believe that many of us, sooner or later have faced and will face difficult times, simply because we live in a fallen world and life can be very challenging.
I would like to share with you a recent experience that I had in my journey with God.
A few weeks ago, I had surgery to remove a tumor in my bladder. For a few days after the operation, I had to use a large catheter. which caused me a lot of pain and burning because my bladder was rejecting it. I prayed to God that the doctors would remove it as soon as possible. God answered my prayer, and I got sent home a day earlier than what had been told to me previously, since everything was looking good.
Once at home, things were going well until the second night when I woke up and realized I was not able to use the bathroom due to blood clots forming in my bladder.
During that very painful time, I praised God and proclaimed His goodness over me. The pain did not go away until I was finally able to empty my bladder. I handled that time in a better way knowing that God was going to deliver me from the problem.
When the problem was resolved, I had an overwhelming sense of peace and His presence restored my soul. Through this experience, God revealed to me how He is able to shape us through such things and how this was part of His love for me. Experiencing this revelation made my love grow for Him. I believe it went to another level.
I could tell many other stories where God showed His faithfulness to me and my family, either in mission trips or in ordinary life, and many other occasions too.
These experiences build us up and show us that God is always there for us, even when we don’t understand what we are going through.
If we are able to trust Him, peace will come to us and we will be able to praise God in difficult times.
Our praise will be our strength in the struggle.
Praising God in difficult times is not always easy, but if we build our relationship on faith and trust and transparency, God will never let us down. Then our difficult times will just make our faith stronger!
When we face a new challenge, we will have the experience and we will handle it in a better way without doubting His faithfulness.
I hope you have been edified by this article and that it has been helpful to you in your journey as a worshipper.
Please let us know some of your experiences and what do you think about this article or this topic. Please leave a comment below.
May God bless you in all that you do.
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