Praise in the Storm 

Praise in the Storm 

When I was a little girl, I vividly remember burning my hand on a cookie sheet. In anticipation for the cookies, I touched the pan while it was fresh out of the oven. My mom scooped me up, sat me on the counter, and ran my hand under cool water from the faucet. My scalded fingers found relief in the cold. Isn’t that true of life? Healing is often found in the antithesis of our experience. Comfort is found in a good cry. Hurtful words are mended with forgiveness. A busy mind is quieted by rest.

The same is true for our suffering. When we feel we are drowning in despair, praise keeps us afloat. About three years ago, I went through about a year of chemo. I was confused and frustrated that God would allow someone so young to get cancer. The first treatment hit like a tidal wave. I could barely get off the couch. Time was measured between rounds of getting sick and changing out vomit-ridden trash bags. I remember counting every ceiling tile in our small apartment’s ceiling, trying to distract my mind from the weakness I felt. I prayed for some kind of anchor to hold to, and out of God’s kindness, a song became stuck in my head.

“I will build my life upon Your love

It is a firm foundation

I will put my trust in You alone

And I will not be shaken

… I will build my life upon Your love

It is a firm foundation

I will put my trust in You alone

And I will not be shaken.”

In the midst of being pulled underneath the torrents of trial, this song (“Build My Life” by Housefires) lifted my spirits. I sang this Bridge over and over again until I fell asleep. In the praise, I remembered God was near. Though it may seem counterintuitive, on our worst days, in our deepest hardship, praising God is our life preserver. The prophet Habakkuk illustrates this beautifully at the end of Habakkuk.

“Though the fig tree does not bud

and there is no fruit on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though the flocks disappear from the pen

and there are no herds in the stalls,

yet I will celebrate in the Lord;

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!

The Lord my Lord is my strength;

he makes my feet like those of a deer

and enables me to walk on mountain heights!”

– Habakkuk 3:17–19

Even if our securities fail, our pleasures deplete, our sustenance dries up, or our comforts vanish, the prophet Habakkuk reminds us that our strength is found in God alone. He is worthy of our praise and affection. God has proven His faithfulness over and over. Our typical response to suffering is either to muster up all our strength and power through—or to hide and drown it out with distractions. But there is a better way. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can not only persevere through our sufferings, but we also have the opportunity to know and experience God more richly. It’s no secret that seasons of trial bring us closer to God. Why? Maybe we finally experience humility enough to realize our need for Him. He becomes our anchor—the only thing keeping us in place. Somehow, praise is our conduit to strength. When we embrace that our own power is not enough, we can better cling to God—who is more than enough.

Seasons of suffering also deepen our appreciation for Christ. We read in the Gospels about the physical agony Jesus faced, the torturous mocking He endured, and the betrayal He experienced. As we feel these similar feelings, we can remember that Jesus is our co-sufferer. He understands, and because He understands, He is best equipped to comfort us. He loved us enough to experience pain and death on our behalf.

Jesus has not only defeated our sin and granted us grace, He secured for us an eternity in Heaven where there will be no more tears, no more disease, and no more grief. Our bones will not ache in pain. Our hearts will not ache in regret. We will praise without hindrance. The world will be made new (Revelation 21:5). As Christ’s beloved, we know that this place is not our home. We know that we have better in store, and this glorious truth helps us to move forward. Like a lighthouse guiding ships in the night, Jesus becomes our steady beacon of hope, helping us navigate the waters we feared we’d drown in.

Are you weary with suffering today? Do you feel like you have no more strength to continue on? Do you dread tomorrow? Friend, there is lasting peace offered in Christ. Find a song to repeat. Find a verse to memorize. Even when it feels unnatural and maybe even forced, praise Him anyway. Remember the times He has been faithful in your past. Ask for Him to draw near. Read stories of redemption throughout Scripture. Cling to the promise that He will one day make all things new. Even if our sufferings never fade and the season of trial never passes, He is still worthy. He is still good. When our destination is Heaven, the reward is well worth the storms we face on the way.

Additional Resources:
The Daily Grace Podcast

We want to invite women to join us in our conversation about our great God, and be encouraged to seek a deeper knowledge of God that leads them to live their lives for God’s glory as they grow in love and awe in response to who He is.