Praise God in the storms, through the battles, and when life gets hard. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. If you are asking those questions, then this Bible reading plan is for you! His final words were likewise drawn from a psalm of lament: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46; cf. Praise. SESSION 11: Praise: Releasing Faith. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. 1 Peter 5:8-11 When you and I hurt deeply, what we really need is not an explanation from God but a revelation of God. If worship is all about celebration and praising the Lord for all the good things he has done, how can I approach him in my grief and pain? OMF International's website, like most, uses cookies to help provide you with the best possible experience. It is our way of entreating him for mercy in times of difficulty. Not a day passes when we don’t face suffering, loss, or grief in one way or another. Modern Christians who are burdened by sin can similarly employ this ancient biblical pattern. Suffering Reveals the Glory of God. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? So God comforts us in all our afflictions. Even so, their lack of specificity greatly helps those who use the psalms as they can be adopted to suit many different circumstances. All this will enable you, in a special way, to be able to minister to others. Mark 5 13) Psalm 63:3-4 (NIV) Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Thank You, Abba, for your perfect work. Far from exhausting the biblical testimony about trouble and lamentation, they are supplemented by numerous New Testament accounts of broken people seeking Jesus for healing and of the apostles suffering for their testimony that Jesus was the Christ. Praise God!”. But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! One of the best ways that this can be done is to integrate lament into our celebration of the Christian Year. The Bible offers much guidance in lifting prayers of praise to God. [3] Or it may spring from a misplaced conviction that followers of Jesus should experience no problems in life. Nothing happens to us without first passing through God (‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:37‬). This article is adapted from a chapter in his forthcoming book, An Introduction to Biblical Worship. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. You know these. 1 Peter 4:13-14. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 4:879. As many of the lament psalms were written for those experiencing physical illness, there is great pastoral value in making them part of our prayers. It is how we should approach God with honesty and hope that he will meet us in our pain, sympathize with us in our confusion, and enable us to praise him again. And when you consider the abuse that God receives from human beings every day, creating human beings looks like a bad deal for God. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you (emphasis mine). Another caution in the use of these psalms is that the words uttered should never be considered a magical formula for physical healing. Lest someone think that these psalms were a rarity, it is commonly noted that around sixty of the 150 biblical psalms are laments, making it the largest grouping of psalms by genre. We all face suffering in some way, shape or form. The Bible nowhere disguises the reality that life can be difficult. Since God is the great physician, prayers for the sick can be meaningfully incorporated into worship. Moreover they show that the experience of anguish and puzzlement in the life of faith is not a sign of deficient faith, something to be outgrown or put behind one, but rather is intrinsic to the very nature of faith.[6]. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. In 42:11, his faith exhorts him to believe despite his bewilderment at God's silence during his suffering. If I am honest with myself, it is much harder for me to thank and praise God when I … Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Four Ways To Pray In Suffering . When trouble or disaster hits a large body of believers, the appropriate response is to bring a corporate lament to God whether during the main weekly service of a church or a special service. Peter wrote, “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” ( 2 Peter 2:9 ). Jesus, You are the Lord of my life, and I submit to You and will never deny You no matter what happens. American King James Version ×, Psalms 57:9 Psalms 57:9 I will praise you, O Lord, among the people: I will sing to you among the nations. These sober realities require somber reflection. So let’s spend some time together praying the Scriptures, offering the Lord a prayer of praise!. Although the Hebrew words are immediately associated with the actions of lament, the composition is more important for our purposes as we study the biblical texts. In other words: your suffering is not for you; it’s for the testimony that will be birthed through your suffering that will reveal the glory of God to others. God will fight for you, when you place your full trust in him. As our relationship with God encompasses all of life, it is possible, indeed essential, that we learn how to worship God through the rough times when mumbling, “Praise the Lord, anyway,” simply won’t do. Suffering can position our lives to bring more glory to God. By becoming man, the Creator faced obscurity, the Almighty experienced rejection and ridicule, the Righteous One endured temptation without giving in to sin, and the eternal Lord died for the sins of others. Since God will certainly intervene, we can be sure that praise will follow. Learned in public worship, these words from the Bible can be taken home so that a person can address God again when praying for oneself or someone else. He asks us to praise Him for our benefit. If you ask most people, they will tell you it is easy for them to thank God when things are going well, but it’s not so easy to praise God when life throws them a curveball. Services of lament are particularly needful when it becomes impossible to take part in a service of praise that contradicts personal and corporate feelings and experience. If you’ve ever read the Book of Psalms, you know that these ancient prayers of praise (and sometimes even anger or despair) resonate on a deep level even today. Show up in the presence of God. They begin to question God and even become mad at Him. The more you depend on him and sense his support, the more you will want to give thanks. 1 Peter 4:19 You are to rejoice when you share in the sufferings of Christ. Lament psalms are prayers addressed to God as the one who understands our difficulties and who is entreated to intervene. What is true for the Old Covenant community is equally true for the church. 1. Up. "Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD. Psalms of lament make it clear that pain and difficulties come from many sources. Multiple times a day. Yet when we look at the life of Job, David, Jesus and Paul, just to name a few, we see that they all experienced great suffering and persecution, which should make us want to understand it a lot better, especially when we consider how different the outcome of their lives might have been if they had not dealt with their suffering exactly as they did. You question, “Are you really listening, God?” That’s ok, friend. (See Romans 8:29.) OMF and China Inland Mission (CIM) History, International Sending Partnerships – New Horizons, Professional Opportunities in South East Asia, Blessing Muslims of East And Southeast Asia, Download this edition of Mission Round Table (3 MB), Download PDF of this edition of Mission Round Table (3 MB), Making friends, Sowing seeds, Catching fish, Praying around the world: a South American prayer group for East Asia, Empty chairs but a heart full of hope in Japan. The praise He gets today is far outweighed by the curses and profanity hurled at Him. Could it be that they were included simply because Israel specially needed this type of psalm due to their regular persecution and because they frequently fell under God’s wrath due to sin? He offers us friendship. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. don’t tell me that! As we follow the pattern set out in the psalms of lament, we learn that we can boldly bring all of our troubles before the Lord who will hear us, intervene for us, and give us the hope that we will praise him again in this world and be freed from trouble in the next. As the seasons of Advent and Lent are designed to give us time to consider these themes, we should avail ourselves of this opportunity. Praise God!”. The New Testament testifies that Jesus, his apostles, and the early church faced major opposition and persecution. No matter that suffering was God’s punishment for personal sin or the result of someone else’s sin, the psalmists acknowledged that life can be extremely difficult and that it is right for a believer to bring their pain, confusion, and frustration to God. When you read Psalms, you can find so many verses about God’s children singing praise even in the midst of hard times. Instead of praying like that, many Christians fall for the enemy’s lies and come under condemnation and suffering. Could it be that God doesn’t care about his plight? So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. God does not always offer us answers. “Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. [1] For an argument that distress is a dominant motif in the book of Psalms, see Philip S. Johnston, “The Psalms and Distress,” in Interpreting the Psalms: Issues and Approaches (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2005), 63–84. Psalm 119:152-154 Give the glory to God and praise his power and faithfulness. They express their experience that God has rejected (Pss 43:2; 44:9), abandoned (Lam 2:7), or forgotten (Ps 42:9) them. While psalms of lament should be used when praying for the sick, to limit them to that function implies that those suffering from other problems are less significant. Note that the connection between lament and worship gives us grounds for reassessing our understanding of what worship is and does. Romans 5:3-5 ESV / 293 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful. Restoring lament to our worship clearly benefits the church in numerous ways. When the group has worked through the time of trouble by bringing it to the Lord of all mercy and receiving his answers, it becomes possible for them to return to God with words of praise. Jesus, You are the Lord of my life, and I submit to You and will never deny You no matter what happens. Third, praise discharges strength in faith, which causes God to move on our behalf. No matter what circumstances prompted their composition, these psalms acknowledge that life can be most troublesome and that the affairs of life often make it difficult if not impossible for God’s people to express joy and sing his praises. But other than saying that suffering is always intended for the ultimate glory of the Lord and that when we’re in the midst of it, we have to trust Him by putting our hope in His word and praising Him, I think the best thing to do is just share the following passages of scripture which I selected from the many that are available, to help us better understand how our suffering is used for the Lord’s glory and how to react to whatever suffering we encounter in our lives as Christians: Job 30:26-27 Expressions of pain, fear, or grief are regularly viewed as symptoms of unbelief or treated as embarrassing abnormalities that should be politely ignored. According to Broyles, only Psalms 32; 51; and 130 are chiefly concerned with sin and forgiveness. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make the choice to fill your heart with words of praise and thanksgiving for God. Monday, November 20th, 2006 at 11:39 pm in Seeds Of Faith. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. Psalm 42:9-11 Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. The hour in which Jesus performed his greatest act of worship was marked by sorrow, suffering, and prayers of lamentation to God. He will also punish the wicked—all those who reject Him—and save the humble. As he hung on the cross Jesus cried out to the Father, not with praise, but with words drawn from one of the lament psalms: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? This is true whether the difficulty is the result of a natural disaster, traumatic experience, or chronic illness. You knew exactly what I needed to hear and be reminded of. God can use suffering to display his work in you. Like the laments, both seasons are imbued with eschatological hope. Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. He teaches you how to be able to feel others’ heartaches. praising God no matter what. Suffering results in praise and glory. Reaching beyond the individual, when a church, a nation, or the world is facing a crisis of some sort, services of lament are in order. Or maybe you’re filled with fear and doubting God’s goodness. Amen. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. Since all of these motifs are present in some but not all psalms that follow the genre, the use of one term as a label should not diminish the importance of the others. The aim of this paper is to broaden our understanding of the worship of God by providing a basic introduction to biblical lament and suggesting ways in which it can be used in the church. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. Psalm 150:3–6 emphasize that we should praise the Lord with instruments and dance, and that everything with breath should praise God. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. “Music is an anchor to a greater reality than what we’re feeling in the present moment.” Far from being limited to singing songs of praise, worship takes hold of all of life as we live it out in humble service before God. While some may simply mouth the words and fail to experience any change, the prayers are designed to lead us from despair to joy as we acknowledge that in spite of our sins, God forgives us and assures us that we receive pardon through Jesus Christ. In this life, we might never really understand why some things have happened. Noah, the righteous and blameless man, was required to build an ark in order to rescue his family and the animals of the world from the great depravity of other people in his time. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Do I have to “fake it” and pretend that things are OK when they’re not? Get the Lyrics God Wants To Give Us So Much More Than A “Quick Fix”, Trusting And Praising God In The Midst Of Suffering. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. As used in the Bible, a lament can be an action associated with mourning (such as wearing sackcloth or beating one’s breast) or a poetic or musical composition (e.g., a dirge) that would be recited or sung during a period of mourning. As you give yourself to God, he will help you through this hard time you are in now. 14) 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) It can, and arguably should, become part of our regular worship of God as we traverse the seasons of the year. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 [8] Though commonly divided into individual psalms of lament and corporate psalms of lament, there is an additional distinction between them, as some locate the source of difficulty in one’s circumstances and seek God’s deliverance while others identify God as the one who brings the trouble and entreat him to withhold his hand. Hannah’s inability to bear a child, compounded by the provocation of her rival, prompted her to cry out to God that he might give her a son. Many things—the loss of a spouse through death, divorce, or dementia, inability to find a marriage partner or conceive a child, failure to find or keep a job, psychological or sexual abuse, physical pain, depression, etc.—rob us of the joy we desire. Suffering follows us because we are people broken by sin, living in a broken world. Why would God place such an emphasis on lament in the Bible? He longs for us to come to him, talk to him, bring our suffering to him. "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to … [11] John D. Witvliet, Worship Seeking Understanding: Windows into Christian Practice (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 46–47. In our pain, we long to know why God allows grief and hardship into our lives. Pray – (1/2 minute) Read – (3 minutes) “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. It is fitting for us to praise the Lord in the midst of our suffering. Ps 31:5). Or is he punishing the lamenter for some reason? (13) We now pass on to advice of different kinds--to the heavy-laden or light-hearted, to the suffering and afflicted. Is there one thing you can choose to praise God for during the pain you’re in? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps 10:1). When you and I hurt deeply, what we really need is not an explanation from God but a revelation of God. I was sure by now God, You would have reached down And wiped our tears away Stepped in and saved the day But once again, I say "Amen," and it's still raining. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. I remember one of the students saying how incredible it was to him that Christianity could be viewed by many students as a belief-system that could be added onto their present lives with little change. Like Habakkuk, I’ve said, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” (Habakkuk 1:2). Bernhard W. Anderson, Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for Us Today, 3rd ed. He wants us to buy the lie that God is holding out on us. When you stop worrying and trying to fix it all on your own, you allow the space for God to step in. Pastor Lupe Garcia preaches Praise God In Your Suffering. You can praise God anywhere. Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The most accessible biblical resource for those facing difficulties is the psalms of lament. In moments of struggle and strife, it may not be easy to pray. Their psalms of lament provide models of the right way to complain to God. [8] Though generally categorized as psalms of lament, some scholars refer to them as psalms of complaint or psalms of petition. In fact, I was surprised to find out how much the Bible actually says about how much Christians suffer, and why God uses it and how we’re supposed to react to it. They knew what it is to rejoice and they knew what it is to grieve. Even while hiding from a very near danger, David proclaims praise to God. My heart rejoices in reverent praise to You my God, and my grateful thanks will resound throughout eternity. God hears our prayers, cares about our situation, and will come to our aid. As this cycle of feasts developed in early church history, two penitential seasons—Advent and Lent—took prominent place. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 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