Friday, April 11, 2008

Praise

Today was an amazing day. In fact, the last few days have been pretty awesome. In part, it's because the weather is getting nicer. The first week or so of April was dreadfully rainy and just ugly outside. Granted, we're in a drought down here in the South, so it was very needed, but it still wasn't really nice. I don't do too well in the rain. I don't mind if it's hot or cold, but I need sunshine every now and then to make me feel good. There was no sun for a good straight week, I'd say, and that wore on me. Not to mention I'm still dealing with the break-up between myself and Hitch. I'm really doing fine (much better than most people get when they break up, that's for sure), but it was still weird not having that comfort around. Oh, and I had a literal ton of schoolwork to do. Paper after paper, reading assignment after reading assignment. It really was a lot to take on for a week, and I was so busy I didn't have time for hanging out or working on my own writing projects.

But anyway, the great thing about that kind of stuff is that you know it will end eventually. The assignments, though stressful, were completed on time (well, mostly on time). The rain stopped and the past two days have been absolutely spectacular. Hitch and I went out to dinner last night, just as friends, and it wasn't awkward at all. In fact, I'm confident that I'll remain one of his good friends, though of course only time will tell. I think we'll be better as friends than we were as a couple, simply because our differing beliefs won't be thrown into conflict. I'm genuinely appreciative for his friendship. Also, one of my good friends is coming to my college next year. She came down and I gave her a tour of the campus. Then we hit the beach, and then we went downtown and got ice cream. If that's not a good few days right there, I don't know what is.

It's easy to praise God when things are going well. It's easier to be spiritual when it's nice outside and your homework is done and you have a pleasant weekend to look forward to, free of drama and stress. But now that these wonderful days are here, I feel bad for not having praised God enough when it was miserable outside, when I was stressed out over homework and dealing with a break-up. Yes, I praised Him. I read my Bible and prayed and went to Campus Crusade and church and all that, but my heart didn't sing. Today and yesterday, the days of beauty as I call them, my heart felt like it was just singing Psalm 104 all day long. Constant praise. Constant thanks to God for all that He has given me. I want that more often. I want it even when times are tough (and let's face it, I'm an American college student with a good family, friends, and a warm bed; times are never really tough).

So that's what I aim to do. When things are looking down, I need to praise God for all that I have anyway, because it's a lot more than the vast majority of the people in this world have. Even if I can't find it in my heart to praise Him for that (and I really shouldn't be so spiritually immature), I can at least praise Him for the coming wonders. Rain doesn't last forever. Stress doesn't last forever. Heartache and grief don't last forever. So you praise God for what is to come, for the sunny days and the peace and the companionship of friends and family. Isn't that what praise is all about? Aren't we praising God for allowing us to have that one fine day at the end of everything, when the gloom that was our lives here subsides and we finally get to see the sunny day that is the Kingdom of God? Isn't that why we cry out, "How long?" I guess the same thing can be applied on a smaller scale. The rain stops eventually, but even while it's pouring (in a multitude of ways), we can still praise.

5 comments:

otrolado said...

That was an excellent post. I have been on a similar wave length the past few days.

I will say that I have habit of forgetting God when things are going especially well. Instead of praise, I start thinking that I deserve the things I have...or that I am okay doing things on my own. My pride has a nasty way of coaxing me into feeling entitled and better than others.

Jim Johnson said...

Jay,

It sure is easy to overlook praising God when it is dreary outside or dreary inside when you are stressed or just not feeling the joy. That's when we need to praise Him the most because that act gives us the power to plow through whatever we are dealing with at the moment.

1 Peter 4:11 (NIV) If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen

Brandon said...

I'm glad you're feeling so good, Jay. That sure is something worth praising the Lord about. :)

Oh, and I liked that label "total awesomeness". It doesn't get much better than that.

Keep on praising God for all His magnificent goodness!

Beast said...

Hey man, I am glad you're still staying focused. God is faithful when things around us aren't, just as the sun is always there behind the sky of black clouds, threatening to shed thunders on our heads. It's comforting to see God's true peace is with you and lifting your heart to give Him praise!

Bless you!
Beast.

Prodigal said...

great reminder to stay focused! just found your blog and look forward to following it.