I just finished reading the Blood of Kings fantasy series by Jill Williamson. In the last book, the characters were fighting a battle against darkness. One of the main characters was going against the evil master who had brought darkness to the land. He was not an experienced fighter, but he was chosen by Arman (who represented God in the analogy). As he fought, he found himself getting weaker and weaker. He called out to Arman but nothing seemed to happen. His commander then reminded him that it is in the Praise of Arman that there is strength. He realized that he alone could not defeat this enemy. It would take the strength of all the people calling out and praising Arman. Using some special abilities he had, he called on all the people to acknowledge Arman and to give him praise. Together they sang a song of praise of who Arman was. Slowly light crept back over the land, and evil was conquered. Evil was conquered by the praises of Arman's (God's) people.
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat and his army are promised victory. They were not to fight but stand still and see what God would do. The day of the battle, they marched out to meet the enemy singing praises to God. Before they reached the enemy, God had already won the victory leaving them all the spoils of war. In Acts, Paul and Silas were in the middle of a midnight singing when God caused an earthquake to free them leading to the jailer and his whole family being saved.
Why when praise is what my soul needs most, do I not do it more? Why do I not praise when it is what will bring victory? I too often find myself like Peter wanting to walk confidently on the water but instead find myself crying out for God to save me. Why are so many of my prayers about me and needing to be saved? Just like Peter, when our eyes are on Jesus, we can do what Jesus has asked us to do. Last night I had trouble getting to sleep. We received a phone call telling us that our school will be restarting later than planned. Both my husband and I started thinking though what if's and thinking of plan B's for our children's schooling. We were especially concerned for W who is a senior this year. The waves seemed to be getting higher and higher, and I was sinking. It is in times like these that what I truly believed is shown. Will I trust? Will I praise in the midst of unknowns?
For the past few years, I have chosen a word to describe what my goal or resolution is for the year. This year I really thought it would be community. I need community. I crave community. I even had some great posts crafted in my head about community. Then I thought it would be surrender especially in the face of our unknown circumstances, but it didn't seem right either. This week after finishing the fantasy book, I started thinking about worship. What I really need is worship. I need to take my eyes off of me and fix them on God. In worship, I find community with God. In worship, I surrender to a God who is sovereign and who loves me more than I will ever know. So today I am choosing to worship- to take some time away from formulating Plan B's and focus on the One who created me. I am hoping to do a better job in my daily time with God and throughout my day to take time to worship. It might be thinking about the names and character of God. Or it could be singing songs of worship as I wash dishes or fix supper. It might even be memorizing scripture that focuses on who God is so that when times get hard, God's word is embedded inside of me and will be there to guide me.
Dear God of all Things, Creator of the universe, Today I praise you for who you are and for all you have done. I feel the battle raging around me. I see the waves wanting to engulf me. May I fix my eyes on you. May I remember the truths of who you are. May I remember each day to give you the praise that you are worthy of. May I never forget that you alone deserve all of my worship. Amen