Right now I'm supposed to be in Louisiana, enjoying a surprise visit to my sister's house for her birthday. Everything was coming together so perfectly. Flights were on sale for super cheap, we were able to (secretly) get my sister's work schedule changed, my kiddos were covered, and my aunt even found a big enough box for me to jump out of -- because hello, my love language is cheesiness! I was praising the Lord because everything was just working out so smoothly and perfectly!
But instead of partaking in this fun surprise, I'm now sitting on my couch here in Texas, nauseated from pain medication and trying to take it easy.
On Sunday night I had to go to the ER for extreme pelvic pain. They found out I had a ruptured ovarian cyst. This is a complex cyst, so we are scheduled for a laparoscopy next week to remove it. Thankfully it's just a minor procedure. Amidst my pain and disappointment, I have felt the Lord whisper to me: "Will you still praise me?"
So often we praise the Lord when things are going so perfectly. We talk about how much God has blessed us when our kids are healthy or when everything is going well with our finances. But what about when we are in the midst of hardship? Do we still say we are blessed? Do we still praise Him?
Do I still believe I am blessed when our finances go out of whack?
Do I still believe I am blessed when I lose a loved one?
Do I still believe I am blessed when I experience pain and discomfort?
Yes. I am still #soblessed.
Will I still praise Him when we get a surprise tax bill that causes us to drain our savings?
Will I still praise Him when my husband is gone for 10 days and I am at my wit's end with my children?
Will I still praise Him when I have to cancel a fun trip and have to get surgery instead?
Yes. I will praise Him.
Although everything inside of me wants to whine and complain in hard times, I must choose to have an attitude of gratitude and praise my God for His goodness. For His love. For His grace and His salvation and His protection and provision.
In Phillip Keller's "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" he states that "contentment should be the hallmark of the man or woman who has put his or her affairs in the hands of God." When a person has given their life to the Lord, contentment will follow regardless of the circumstances. When I have discontentment in a certain area, that means I have not entrusted that area to the Lord's care.
We have gone through the ringer the last couple of weeks. And I had to repent to the Lord for my attitude. I did way more bickering than I care to admit, and He gently asked me if I would still praise Him. I feel like that was preparation for this week. And honestly, after more bad news, I could do nothing more today but smile and praise Him. Because He has proven faithful again and again and I know HE'S GOT THIS. Even amidst bad news, God's blessings are innumerable.
Yes, we had to use our savings to pay some tax shortages, but God had gone ahead of us and made sure that money was there.
Yes, I had to go to the ER on Sunday night, but God had gone ahead of us and prompted my sister-in-law to stay the night so that when the pain started I didn't have to worry about our children.
Yes, I have to get surgery next week, but God has gone ahead of me, lining up the perfect doctor, meals for our family, and friends for our children to play with.
We may face hardships in this life, but God always goes ahead of us to work out the details for us so that we can rest in Him. What an incredible Savior we have!
Grumbling and complaining do absolutely nothing to change our situation, but praising God amidst hardship brings peace and growth. And we could all use a little more peace and growth!
When we have God on our sides, we can choose to praise Him and be content no matter what life throws our way. Our Good Shepherd promises to walk beside us even in the valley of the shadow of death. He brings peace to us that surpasses all understanding. He brings deep joy even amidst disappointment. He brings protection in the midst of our enemies. And he brings provision in our lack.
Our God never leaves us nor forsakes us, and because of that, we have reason to praise Him each moment of each day. May we stop our complaining and discontentment with our lot in life, and instead choose to see God's blessings amidst even the most dire of circumstances.
Oh to live a life of absolute contentment! To trust the Lord fully in each and every situation! To praise Him in my sadness and my gladness! That is the cry of my heart. Because He gave it ALL for me, and praise is the least I can do for Him.
"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."(Philippians 4:11-13)
Father, thank you. I trust You. You are good, and you have never failed me. When life gets tough, help me to remember your unlimited goodness. Thank You that You redeem all things and make everything work together for our good. I will praise you even in the storms. I will bless your Holy name, my precious God and King. Thank you for never leaving me nor forsaking me. Have Your way in me. Amen.