Praise = Provision

Self pity and complaining are slippery slopes. Getting started may require a little push, but once you’re sliding it’s hard to stop. The longer I thought negative things, the harder it was to stay positive, and trust God patiently. When I finally spoke to a mentor about it, she shared with me an excerpt from a book she was reading. The excerpt suggested that when things appear to be going badly and do not have an end in sight, maybe it’s because we’re not praising God enough.

One hot Saturday morning I was very depressed, and couldn’t get out of bed. My daughter got some cereal for herself and my son. Then they watched TV for most of the morning. When I finally got up, they asked to go play in the air conditioned community gym. I felt bad because I neglected them all morning, so I agreed. As they were running and playing, I thought I would try this praising God thing to see if it would help. I started out with really shallow simple praises:

Thank you, God that my children have the ability to run and play. Thank you, God, that I have the ability to watch them run and play. Thank you that my children are smart and attractive. Thank you for the air conditioning. With tears in my eyes, I looked up and said,

Can you throw me a bone here? I’m trying!

A few short minutes later, an older man walked into the gym. He smiled, made some jolly small talk with the children, and began walking his laps. Each time he passed me, he said some kind word. I do not remember what. On about his third lap he mentioned he was a retired pastor. I sat up straight, knowing this was the bone I asked God to throw me.

You are? Would you pray for me?

The man looked bewildered and said he would, but first he wanted to know a little more about my story. So I told him the short version: my husband recently left me with two small children and no savings. I had accepted Christ a few years ago, but couldn’t bring myself to talk to him in the last several months. I admitted I was not mad at God, nor did I blame him, but I just had all of a sudden developed an inability to talk to him or care anymore.

So this man prayed for me, and promised to continue praying for me. As it turned out, this man was the grandpa of a wonderful Christian man I went to church with!

Since this time, the Lord led me to read a couple of books by Dr. Carolyn Leaf titled Who Switched Off My Brain and Switch On Your Brain. In these books, Dr. Leaf reported her life’s work documenting what I had been feeling. Our brains release hormones corresponding to what we are thinking. Positive thoughts release feel-good hormones. Negative thoughts release toxins in our brain, making the negative influences seem more real and more terrible.

Now I can praise my Father sincerely! I praise God for throwing me a bone like I asked. I praise him for rewarding obedience, no matter how small, and I praise my Lord for guiding me to resources to help me heal, learn, and grow!

But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 2 Chronicles 20:22

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