Even in the bad times we need to believe God has a plan, a reason for us to experience the bad. Terrible things happen to people. How can we still rejoice in those times?
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways. ~Psalm 139:1-3
God created us and he “gets” us. He knows when we rise and he knows when we lie down. He watches over us during times of sorrow and pain. Do I understand it? No and it can never be fully understood on this side of heaven. He has searched us, probed into the dark recesses of our hearts, and he understands us, inside and out. We often sing a song, “I Surrender All.”
How true is that? Have we surrendered all? Have we stretched out our lives and let God pick us apart or do we curl up in a ball and beg him to leave us alone? Surrendering all means just that—we fully trust God to not destroy us, to believe he loves us. It takes a lifetime of handing our battered lives to him.
When I was five, I had a bout with pneumonia and at first the doctors believed I had tuberculosis. I was isolated in a small hospital room. My parents were not allowed in but could only look at me through the small window in the door. I felt utterly abandoned. Yet, my parents had to hand me over to the hospital staff because they knew the pain from the needle pricks of the nurses and the probing from the doctors were to help, not hurt.
When I recovered, my father carried me to the car, gravel crunching beneath his boots. Still today, the sound of crunching gravel is one of the most soothing sounds I’ve ever heard. One day I will hear that gravel crunch as God sweeps me into his arms to carry me home.
This earth is in general a zone of discomfort. If it were not so, would we long so fervently for heaven? This world is not our home and we should not expect all its comforts while we are here. And it’s not all bad. God gives us periods of great joy and happiness while we’re traveling through, a little taste of heaven, to increase our desire to see him. And we know he always cares for us and watches us, just as my parents stood at the small window watching over me.
And isn’t that enough to praise God?
Praise God in the good times.
Praise God in the bad times.
Praise God in the whirlwind.
Praise God in the silence.
Praise God always.