Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
TITLE: The Inner Strength to Praise
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In my Christian life, I have found that one of the most difficult things for the believer to do is praise and trust God in the midst of a fiery trial. I find it’s easy to praise the Lord when times are good. It’s at the time when it seems the very embers of hell itself are breathing down our necks, is the time when we need the comfort and peace of our heavenly Father. He’s the only one who can sustain us when it seems all hope is lost, and we’re about to sink.
You may be asking: where does one get the inner strength to trust in God during a time when it seems we should fall apart? When I found out that my wife had a very serious medical condition, to which the doctors said there was little hope, I knew that I had to rely on a strength greater than myself. One of the key ingredients that brought peace to my soul during this time was praise; even when I just wanted to fade away into nothingness because of the agony I felt when I was tormented with thoughts of what could be if my wife’s condition progresses.
I found at that time that I had two choices: to magnify the problem and allow fear to take hold of me, or keep my eyes on the one who had the solution to my problem. My problem wasn’t with my wife’s illness; my problem was how I would choose to handle the knowledge I had from what the doctors told me. I knew that it was time to live out my faith in God’s ability and willingness to deliver, and also the promises that He’d made to my wife and I early on in our marriage. God made some specific promises to us that had not yet been fulfilled. It was during this time, I recognized the importance of a close relationship with my heavenly Father.
After I got the news from the doctor, and heard the word, “inoperable”, I headed straight for the hospital chapel, and when I got there, my legs were weak from the tremendous burden and anguish I felt for my beloved. I just lifted my hands and began to praise the Lord, and thanked Him for giving us life. I also prayed that He’d not allow this thing to come to pass. Finally I told the Lord, “I refuse to charge You foolishly, because You are the author of life, not death.” It’s in our secret place where no one else is watching that the true heart of our faith in God is revealed.
I’m not saying that the inner strength to praise was easy. It was one of the most difficult things I’d ever done, but afterward, the peace of God flooded my soul, and it was if I had the comfort of ten thousand angels. I was the closest I’d ever been to understanding what it was like to be in the secret place of the Most High (Psalm 91:1). My faith was that she’d live and not die, and to this day, she lives, not because I amassed this great amount of faith that somehow forced God to comply with my wishes, but it was because in the midst of one of the darkest days of my life, I found the inner strength to praise and trust in my heavenly Father’s ability to bring us victory in the midst of this fiery trial, and not defeat.
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