Traffic that won’t budge when you’re already running late. A co-worker that is rude and demanding when you haven’t yet had your coffee. A computer that keeps crashing when the report was due yesterday. Think for a minute about the many things that we experience on any given day that can potentially impact our mood?
Some of us can go from glad to mad in the blink of an eye, and for others, perhaps it is a culmination of several things that takes us over the top. At such times, we feel that we’ve had enough of whatever it is that is ruining our day. We often throw up our hands, declaring either aloud or in our minds that we can’t—no, we won’t–take it anymore. Sometimes the “hands” might look like fists because we are angry at the slow-moving traffic. Or perhaps they are busy pointing in the face of the person with the rude behavior. Maybe they are poised as if to say to the crazed computer, “What is going on? I can’t believe this is happening. What else could possibly go wrong?”
These are all natural reactions to the situations at hand, but there is another way that we can throw our hands up as we face our daily challenges that works even better. We can throw our hands up in praise.
Raising our hands in praise allows us to shift our focus away from the circumstances and on to God. And definitely such a reaction can keep us from saying or doing something that we may later regret.
Now the situations mentioned in the above examples are troubling but usually only temporary. So how do we get through more difficult situations we may face such as receiving a troubling doctor’s report, dealing with financial difficulties, or coping with grief and loss? Surely we are allowed to throw up our hands in anger, frustration and dismay then. Can we really praise God at those times?
Well, it may seem that we shouldn’t be expected to do so. And honestly, it may be quite difficult to lift our hands in praise during such trying times. But, it is at those times that we can and must remember how good God has already been to us and that He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. We can thank Him for the many blessings He has given us and we can praise Him for what we know He is about to do. As we are striving to praise our way through our circumstances, we can remind ourselves, too, that lifting our hands to God is also a way of totally surrendering our problems, cares, and concerns to Him. It is the way that a child of God calls upon his loving Father. Praising Him gives honor to Him as the head of our lives and shows that we know He is bigger and better than all our circumstances.
In Psalm 63:1-4, David gives us a beautiful example of the lifting of hands in praise to God despite the circumstances:
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
Even in the midst of his “desert” experience, David definitely continues to seek out God and to praise Him for His power and glory. Despite everything else, he declares that he will continue to praise God with the lifting of hands for as long as he lives.
We know David to be a man after God’s own heart. So as we go through our own challenges, whether they be minor moodbusters or difficult deserts, let us be like David and choose to glorify God and praise Him as long as we live. Let’s think before we lift our hands in anger, bitterness or frustration. Let’s choose a better way. Let’s honor our God by throwing up our hands in praise.
What causes you to lift your hands in frustration? How can you turn that into praise?