Praising God when you’re hurting may not feel the same as when you praise, full of joy. But at all times, we can praise our Lord, knowing He is a loving Father who has promised to care for us and deliver us.
It can be easy to regard praise as being a response to favourable acts towards us, and we often find it easy to praise God when things are going well for us. But what about when things are not going so well --when we didn’t get that job, or we are in the middle of a situation where we cannot see how things will ever get any better. Praise may be the last thing on our minds as we are crying out for help.
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to “continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God... giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). One of David’s psalms shows us we should not wait to praise God until we are on the other side of trouble.
David wrote Psalm 57 when he was fleeing from Saul who was trying to kill him, because God had revealed David was to become king of Israel instead of Saul. In this Psalm David cries out for mercy and protection, but he also writes, “My heart is steadfast, O God...I will sing and give praise . . . I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations” (Psalms 57:7-9). Even while hiding from danger, David proclaims praise to God and we should follow that example.
We can praise God for specific blessings, but we should also praise Him for the qualities He embodies. In Psalm 103 David lists many of God’s characteristics -- that He forgives iniquities, heals diseases, redeems our lives, executes righteousness and justice, is merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy—and so much more (Psalms 103:3-8)! Because of who He is, God gave His Son on our behalf and offers us salvation and the gift of His Holy Spirit.
Remembering that God has delivered us—and others—can inspire us to praise Him as we wait for His deliverance once again. In Psalm 34, as David praised God for His deliverance, he wrote, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalms 34:4).
We might not always see a way forward, but we are assured any current trouble is a small thing compared to the great things God has promised (Romans 8:18). As John writes, “...this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." (1 John 5:14).
Like David, we can express to God both our hurt and our thankfulness that He is our Father, that He is listening, and that He will deliver us.