Praising God in trial and tribulation is difficult, even for the grateful heart. Pain has a way of putting itself in the way of counting one’s blessings and remembering God’s former works. Yet it’s praise that raises us—spirit, soul, and body, above the fray, as the door opens for God to work His will through our pain.
Many of the timeless hymns we sing in our church pews came from the hearts of those who had experienced the deepest losses and trials that life can bring, and every family has their own stories of reaching out in faith through loss. Blessed with a lovely voice, my grandmother turned heads in church when she sang along with the congregation, praising God. Her faith was strong and she always trusted that His Ways were best. She had faced her share of heartbreaking, faith-shaking events in life, beginning with the loss of her mother before she was two years of age. As a young teenager she was sent to live at Berea College, earning her education by working in the kitchen. As a young mother she experienced the crushing loss of her son when he was only a toddler. She received word one afternoon that her dear father had passed away before she could plan a long-awaited visit to the Virginia mountains see him one last time. Finally, she was widowed without warning one autumn afternoon, and soon after was forced to sell off many of her possessions. Throughout all of her life’s difficulties, she could still be heard humming praises as she went about her daily tasks, a song of faith in her heart. She had learned the secret of praising God in the midst of life’s ups and downs.
We have reason to praise no matter the circumstance…God is good, He is full of mercy and perfect love towards us, and His faithfulness will never fail. Christian author Ellen G. White, in Steps to Christ, wrote that the difficulties and trials we encounter along our life’s journey are allowed by the Lord in order to teach us, lifting us above the cares of life brought about by sin. As we walk forward in faith, we walk towards the One holding our victory. That’s something to praise Him for!
Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy and lovingkindness are everlasting, His faithfulness [endures] to all generations. Psalm 100:4-5