Praise itself is an act of faith. When we are able to praise God before we see the answers to our prayers, we're saying, Lord I trust you to work this out, according to your purpose. I'm going to thank you now for what you are going to do.
I read a lot of books, especially in the summer when there are not so many things grasping for my attention. I was reading a Christian fiction book called "Stand by Me" and this was a sermon being preached in one of tonight's chapters and it spoke to me. (Isn't it amazing how God can use all sorts of things to get our attention?) I love thinking about praise being an act of faith. We can all stand in church and sing but are we truly praising Him in our lives? Are we telling Him through that worship that we trust Him even when there seems to be chaos surrounding us? When we are able to put our trust in God by actively praising Him, we gain a new perspective. Usually the new perspective that God gives me is that it isn't all about me (gasp!).
And you know what else I've learned? The world is watching. They are waiting to see if a child of God can truly praise Him when feeling afraid. So, it's a balancing act. The balance of praising God in the quiet moments and being a outward testimony to his grace. This can actually lead others to trust in God when they are faced with a challenge. It's not, however, about being perfect. Nobody expects that. There are so many times that I pray that God can use me despite myself. That others can see past the "Laura" to the God in me. Praising God when we don't have all the answers (or any of the answers)? Super hard to do. It can even feel impossible. But I am slowly learning to trust that God is bigger than the uncertainties in my life. I promise you, this lesson is becoming a life-changer for me and my family.
Psalm 40:3 in the Message says, "He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God." Psalm 56:3-4 says, "When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I'm proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do?"
So, tonight I say, "Thank you, Lord for what you are going to do. Thank you for my new God-songs you have given me. I am proud for the chance to praise you. I trust in you. I love you. Thank you for my flawed worship because even then you see me as your righteous child. Oh, Lord, I want to be able to say, I am fearless now."