Fresh Hope – 18th April 2018

I love the honesty of the Psalms – the raw emotion and vulnerability of the authors. The complaints, the sorrow, the praise, the gratitude, the laments, the joy – all rolled into a beautiful collection of poetry. The Psalms accurately depicts the same emotional and spiritual highs and lows we ourselves experience in our own lives today. The underlying theme of the Psalms is simple – worship. Those who wrote the Psalms had hearts devoted to God. Despite trial and tribulation, their common response was always praise.

The Psalms is proof that the Christian life is far from a bubble – ignoring real life problems, and sticking our heads in the sand. The Psalms prove that the Christian life is actually about fully acknowledging our broken hearts, disappointments, and fears, but not camping there. We acknowledge and then praise. We recognise and CHOOSE to worship.

In Psalm 42 as the author diagnoses himself with a downcast soul, he immediately knows his remedy is praise and worship to God. ‘Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my saviour, and my God’ (Psalm 42:5).

Have you ever forced yourself to go on a run? At first, it isn’t what you feel like doing, just something you know you should do. Around half way you start feeling good. As you get further and further into the run, you feel more and more motivated. The endorphins kick in and you see your progress and feel empowered to finish what you started. I don’t think anyone finishes exercise and says, ‘I wish I didn’t do that’. You start out feeling flat, and finish feeling on top of the world, grateful that you pushed past your initial lack of motivation. Praise through trials works in a similar way. You sometimes just do it, because you know God is always worthy and it is good for you. As you get into it, you start to feel things lift and your perspective change. You become empowered through the praise. You never finish worship regretting that you started it. Do this over and over and you will find that worship and praise, like a good exercise regime, becomes an automatic lifestyle and response, unshaken by situation and circumstance.

How easy it is to rejoice, praise and thank God when all our ducks are in a row and our dreams are fulfilled, but where is our mouth positioned in times of trouble? It seems hope, healing, and the breaking of oppression comes through the power of our praise and worship.

Psalm 71:14, ‘But I will keep hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.