Plodding and Praising

I am deeply grateful that though I am ill and weak and can’t do many things and in fact, do suffer every now and then, I am still here with my family by the mercy of God. Having said that though, I cannot deny feeling the steel pressure and pain of seeing friends and sisters in Christ passing away in the prime of life and in the midst of being needed by family and the workplace or in the vineyard of the Lord. It was just last year when my best friend left her young children orphans, then followed by a very good sister in Christ whom I loved dearly. A friend from college and his family celebrated Christmas and New Year in the hospital and then he was gone.

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These things lay heavy on my soul. I can feel the weight. No wonder I feel like trudging through every day and on to the next. I do the same things everyday, maybe more now than at the start of the year (I’m working on a new painting project), but I am feeling the exhaustion. Not really bone-tired but like a gnawing sadness in the soul, a deep knowing that life here on earth is never really easy.

I have been thinking lately how my life before as a career-and-businesswoman was so different in terms of the things happening around me compared to my life in the Lord now. I remember years of ease and triumphs and news about sickness and dying seemed to be rare if none at all. Or maybe I just didn’t care enough to really look then or didn’t let such things bother me.

Life in the Lord is an entirely different one. Through much tribulation we journey to God’s kingdom as apostle Paul had warned. Though we trudge and groan, we go on. Look how the dictionary defines trudge.

walk slowly and with heavy steps, typically because of exhaustion or harsh conditions; plod

Harsh conditions. The storms of life. The curveballs. The trials.

This illness and suffering and all the pains and longings attributed to it put my life in harsh conditions. But I am thankful that the Lord never gives up on me to inspire me with fresh hope whenever I feel discouraged. He shines His light upon me when darkness falls like a thick fog. Then I have joy again to praise Him from deep within my being.

That is the foolproof antidote to life’s hardships: praise God, give Him honor and glory even in the midst of trials. Especially in the midst of trials. That’s what I find myself doing throughout the day, whether with my lips, silently in my heart or in my prayer journal. First, praising and worshiping God reverses the fiery darts of the devil. We can feel that. Second, it moves the hand of God. There must be power working for and through us. When we intentionally give God honor and praise, we are already victorious.

We are created for God’s glory. He said it Himself.

Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him. (Is. 43:7)

We were made to bring God glory. Our roles, the work of our hands, our achievements, the things we do, yes, the very thread of our lives – they should all bring God glory. It’s all about Him, never about ourselves. But sometimes, we forget that.

Grab every bit of opportunity to turn pains into praise. Do it intentionally. Let praises and words that bring honor and glory to God flow profusely from our hearts and lips.

When I read the messages of admiration and appreciation of the buyers of my paintings, I do my best to not allow the praises to rain on me and drench me, but I catch everyone of them and fling them up to the praise and glory of my Savior. We can all learn from John the Baptist:

He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)

I write my gratitude on the pages of my prayer journal, tears pooling in my eyes. How that the good and perfect gifts He has bestowed upon me are turned into honor and praise to His name. How even that is counted as worship and it makes me feel fulfilled.

Praising God satiates the soul.

When we find ourselves plodding from one day to the next, when the sighings are more frequent than the hummings, remember the words of the Lord: We can do all things through Him who strengthens us and His grace is sufficient for us. Then praise Him in the midst of it all.

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