Will I: praise over panic, and willingly worship over wallowing in worry? These are 2 critical questions that I keep hearing these last 2 weeks. To praise rather than panic, or to worship instead of worrying, are just examples of how we can and need to take our focus off of what is occurring in our lives, and put our attention on the One who is over all. The choice is up to us.

My 18 year-old daughter joined the U.S. Army 2 weeks ago, and is currently in Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training combined, called OSUT (One Station Unit Training), at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Yes, I am confident that she is in the Lord’s will for her life, yes I believe He will take great care of her and provide for her the friendships se needs to make it through, and yes, I know that He is in control so all I need to do is trust Him with her life and future. So why is it so much easier to wake up and worry about her, cry even at the mere mention of her name, and worry about IF she will make it through, if she is lonely, if she will come home before the end of the year, if…?

My choice – even though I am extremely emotional about this – is every time I think of her, or cry for myself, or panic over no news and worry about her well-being; is to look to heaven and its Designer. My Savior wants my full and complete devotion, which includes trust, faith, hope, peace, and commitment. The best way I can show that to Him is to use the breath He has breathed into me and worship Him. I will praise the Lord!

When life hurts the most, then praise more fervently, because this means He is in the middle of our circumstances and that there is bright side just on the other side! In doing so, we are taking our focus off of ourselves, our troubles, and showing God that we believe He is over all. We are giving Him credit for what He has already done, for what He will do, and for who He is. He is so much bigger than what can overtake us: depression, weakness, sickness, finances, diseases, and evil. The Lord has already won! Not to mention how great is his love toward us! We have plenty of reasons to worship rather than wallow in worry. He has proven himself to be faithful to us, and that alone should cause us to worship ALL day!

In Acts 16:16-34, we read about Paul and Silas being imprisoned for commanding an evil spirit to come out of a young woman. Their godly action angered her owner. After dragging them to the marketplace, several men then incited the crowd to strip down and beat Paul and Silas with rods, then had the rulers throw them into the inner prison and put their feet in stocks. So here they sit, having received many blows with rods, clothing stripped off of them, and sitting on a filthy inner prison floor in the dark with their feet in chains. Most people in this position would be crying, scared, panicking, hurting, embarrassed and completely broken.

Paul and Silas were heard singing hymns and praying!! They didn’t focus on their own difficult, unfair circumstances, instead, they decided to worship and praise God! This time, their actions brought about the hand of God as a great earthquake shook the foundations of the prison, opening all of the doors.

Did you get that? Their praising the Lord opened the doors around them! It not only set them free, but those that had heard their singing as well! When we pray and worship Jesus in spite of what is happening to us, He WILL answer in a very powerful way that will change even the lives of those around us! This is precisely what happened with Paul and Silas, as their jailor believed in Jesus along with his entire household. He cleaned their wounds, fed them, and rejoiced over their newfound belief in God. This came about because Paul and Silas chose to worship rather than wallow in worry; to praise rather than panic, to exalt rather than be anxious.

Remember that He has already brought you through so much. He will be remain faithful to you.

Let it be known that for us to worship in the midst of trying events, is a sacrificial act.

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”
Hebrews 13:15

Choose JOY today! You know the acronym: Jesus, Others, You (in that order).

May this song encourage you while worshipping our Lord!
Raise a Hallelujah – Bethel Music

Food for thought: Note that there were rioters 2,000 years ago, who were no different than today’s. What will change the outcome of our current inner-city rioting is how we choose to answer them: in truth, in love, and with the power of God through praising Him. Trust that His heavenly army is ready to intervene at His command. Until then, use your God-given breath to worship in words and actions.

Fun facts: In 1778, Deborah Sampson enlisted in the Army as a male. Her true identity remained hidden as a Revolutionary infantryman until she was wounded. Year later, her husband was granted a widow’s pension for her service.

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone, MT