What is the best way to approach God?
Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His Name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.— Psalm 100:4-5 NLT
Life has its challenges but God is constant, entirely good, loving and ate naive to us, His children. In faith we can honour God with our praise — and put ourselves spiritually and powerfully in agreement with His solution.
The news recently has been all about the worst economic downturn for 300 years, with the shared burden meaning lower income and higher tax for all. And we are told that there’s a long way to go before the pandemic restrictions can be lifted.
What we are experiencing is not good. However, God IS good through and t through, and on the basis of that goodness we approach Him with thanks and praise.
Emotionally, that is confrontational. What we see in front of us is one picture. What we join with in heaven seems like a different reality, detached from our struggles. It doesn’t seem honouring to the ones who have lost their jobs, who have lost in come and also the sense of belonging that comes from being part of a workforce. Part of us would rather agree with the problem.
But praise IS honouring to God. His character has not changed. His goodness is not diminished. His love, which unlike ours doesn’t come and go with circumstances, is still as strong as ever. And in praising Him in the words of this verse, that “His faithfulness continues”, is placing ourselves in spiritual agreement with the solution. Faith tells us there is a solution. Faith tells us that God is already at work with His remedy, even though we may not have seen it yet.
Where we are, in our world, doesn’t feel like a solution. Even when we are queuing up in the winter cold for the jab that brings us relative immunity, it is a global disaster that put us there.
But let’s not forget that just a few months ago, we were praying for a breakthrough. We were doing our best to bless the work and insight of researchers. And in a fraction of the usual development time, effective vaccine have been developed and are being released for public use.
The traditional experience of church has been impacted. We have to keep at a distance and we can’t sing. But people unfamiliar with technology have overcome their anxiety and become amazingly proficient at video conversations. Many churches have discovered new creativity in their live-streaming. They have found the small screen to be a more intimate and less formal way to connect with people, than standing in front of a lectern looking over a crowd. Preachers have discovered short, sharp messages. There’s no dress code, social barrier or cultural expectation in joining in via a link.
Many people are asking faith questions and having spiritual conversations that weren’t part of their lives before.
God in His goodness, faithfulness and merciful love has His answer to our many combined prayers for His help. Praise, through the exercise of faith, makes a connection with that answer before we see what it is. Some of that answer will look different from what we have been used to. The time is well overdue for churches to change, and become relevant to those who don’t belong to their particular club. The climate is such that people who have not known God are realising their need of Him. Where there is seeking, there is also finding.
A revival of personal, life-giving faith in God through turning to His Son Jesus might turn out to be the real healing that God wants to bring. An answer to the presenting problems around lockdowns. But also a healing from the greater pandemic of spiritual apathy and humanism.
Praise is powerful. There is real spiritual power in expressing praise to God for His goodness, in the face of an experience of pain and difficulty. Find opportunities to praise God for who He is and seek how it changes.
For a suggested prayer based on this verse, head over to this page on http://glowweobley.com