“We praise You when we win, and we praise You when we lose.”

we winWinning and losing, successes and failures, raises, promotions, houses and cars it’s how we keep account of how we are doing in life. Are we getting ahead are we falling behind? James writes, ” My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to you him.” (James 1:2-5)

No, it doesn’t mean we are supposed to be happy when trials happen to us. What James is telling us is to consider the trials as a means by which the Lord can work in our lives to help us grow and become the people He created us to be. I know that the thought of considering the hardest times in our lives as blessings, is difficult. I have lost a child, she was 13 when I lost her, and I did not consider it joy. I did not praise God for that trial, I did not see how anything good could come from that single event. In my wounded heart I felt only my pain. It took me many years…many years, before I was able to look at that trial as something God used to make me more like Him. God not only used that experience to do His perfect work in me, he also fulfilled one of His many promises to, “work all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

What I have found is that in times of trial, disappointment, confusion, or anxiety we need to praise God, not for the circumstances but because He is God! It is in and through those moments that God shows us what He can and will do in our lives. He will provide; a way out, triumph, clarity and calm if we ask it of him. “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let no that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)

Recently I was driving to the office and i received a phone call. One I had been very anxious to receive. I had been working on a project for months, and this call was going to either let me know that my team and I had been successful or unsuccessful. I will let you know that there was a lot riding on this project, so my anxiety level was a bit high. The phone call unfortunately did not turn out the way I’d hoped, we were not awarded the project. It was in that moment I felt compelled to praise God. No, I did not jump for joy, no I did not skip or dance or throw my hands up in the air. I simply thanked God for what He was doing. I know that He has greater plans for me, plans far greater than I could imagine. I praised and continue to praise Him for what He is doing with my life. Yes, that contract would have been remarkable, something never done by my division. I would have received many kudos and much recognition. Even knowing that, I know that what is in store is better.

I love movies and there is one from which I frequently show clips for team building and motivation. There is a scene in ‘Facing the Giants‘ where Coach Taylor explains his new team philosophy. In this scene he is explaining to his team of high school football players that life is all about God, not us.  He stated toward the end that “if we win, we’ll praise Him, if we lose, we’ll praise Him.” Coach is resolved to give it all to God and by doing so accept everything God has for him.

Back in that moment in my car, it would have been easy to feel discouraged, disappointed, be angry, yell out ‘why not, we worked hard, we deserve it’. Instead, I chose to pray and to praise. God is always God, not just when times are good, and everything is going our way.  In fact, often times it’s when things seem the darkest, the most unbearable that God’s love, light and blessings flow out in ways we could have never expected.

I choose to praise Him when it’s good and when it seems bad, because I know that He is sovereign. There is nothing that escapes His notice or care. I know He wants only what is best for me and loves me too much to do less. Laura Story’s song ‘Blessings‘ says “We pray for blessings, we pray for peace, Comfort for family, protection while we sleep, We pray for healing, for prosperity, We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering, And all the while, You hear each spoken need, Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.”

Once we can start to see past the immediate pain, fear, anxiety and discomfort of our situations and begin to recognize that God is at work in those moments, we will be able to consider it joy that He is active and working in our lives.

Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’d love to hear from you. Come back and visit at “Connectthedotblog”.

 

 

2 responses

  1. God’s sovereignty is key as you mentioned. Excellent reminder. Good word.

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  2. shannonfriedman | Reply

    Oh my- I wrote a long response but in the process of trying to post it and get my password, etc… I think it disappeared! Lol.
    Love what you shared!
    I think it can be hard for folks to understand, embrace Gods Sovereignty. It is hard to not want a Miracle when- we want it. So hard to praise when we don’t understand-when things seem unfair. I think folks have a hard time when- even if we didn’t praise in the moment of the trial- but we are able to praise after healing. Often people seem to have a hard tome when we see how God worked things out for our good and His glory in spite of the trial we went through.
    People often have a hard time with the abuse I experienced- why didn’t God stop it?
    How do you have a relationship with your mother? How do you have a relationship with your father? Only through the grace of my heavenly fathers healing. I didn’t get an obvious miracle at that time. But I experienced so many less obvious miracles. Lifelong friendship that began during the season of abuse in my life. A strong youth group where I felt connected to the Lord, a protection -I didn’t go down a path of drugs. God gave me people in my life that also struggled with hurts and struggles and we were able to help lift each other up.
    I know I am a stronger person in my faith, I drew to the Lord in the midst of my abuse. My more tangible miracle was that I don’t think my husband would be a Christian today if I was not the person I became-strong in faith and as a person. I wouldn’t have a child with him. I did get a miracle -they just didn’t come when I thought I needed it. Gods timing is ‘best’. Giving Him the praise and glory in all circumstances is so hard, but if we can let go of our control and our timing-God has so much more for us!
    So wonderful to hear of how God has healed you. I am so blessed that I met you and Alex. I know it was such a hard time in my life and yours then. I know I was a complete mess in the midst of my healing from abuse and the pain of love and divorce and trying to figure out how Christians and church fit with my relationship with the Lord! I wish we had been better able to connect over the years. Someday we will have to connect and I would love to give you a hug! Love seeing you and your family in FB!
    Hugs!
    Love,
    Shannon

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