Sunday, April 15, 2007

How are You Breathing?

Psalm 150 declares,

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD

We are called to praise God in the midst of His sanctuary, which is all of creation as the psalmist shows as he continues to write. We are called to praise Him for His mighty works, and His surpassing greatness. All of this is right and good.

But, the call of this psalm to me is found in how our praise is to be all-encompassing and it is to involve all of our person. With music and with dance, with fullness of sound, and with our subtle breath, we are to praise the LORD. Everything that has breath is to praise the LORD.

As we read through the Psalms we discover the psalmists praising God on their good days and on their bad. We all creation declares God's glory, and when silence falls heavy upon the heart, in all those times we see the psalmist finding course to give praise to God. Praising Him because He is worthy of praise irregardless of our present circumstances.

Praise is what God deserves.
Praise is what God desires.

Praise is what brings delight to our hearts, even when our hearts seem broken and crushed. I have found, through personal experience and through the stories of others, that praise, when given to God, can set the broken and bound heart free. Praise, even through sorrow and tears, has a healing effect upon the soul.

Why? I am not always sure, but I am sure of this, that when we lift praise to the Lord, we enter into His presence, and it is in that presence that healing, mercy, forgiveness and joy abound.

So, shall we praise the Lord? Shall we sing? Shall we dance? Shall we breath?


Anonymous said...

Looks like I got here too late for the favorite hymn or psalm thread, but I was thinking along the lines of what I like about songs (even the ones the young artist’s record these days) as well as the psalms in the bible and old time hymns and what I like about all of them is the honesty relayed.

Songs and hymns that profess faith in the Lord while honestly lamenting disaster or heartbreak at the same time. In some of the psalms, the psalmist had to dig pretty deep to find that mustard seed of faith too. It’s the honest communication with God that takes place that makes them so real, that makes them touch our hearts so.

No candy coating, no perfect people who never waver in faith, but mere mortals who looked to God, and talked to God, and sang sad songs, happy songs, but most of all real songs that came from deep within their souls.

How would I praise the Lord right now if I were a parent whose child was just massacred at Virginia Tech? Well, I think the Lord is big enough to understand that I might be too stunned to do anything at first, much less praise him.

I think he is patient enough to love someone through a possible anger stage before they praised him not to mention a “Why, Dear God, why, why, why” state – “why did they have to kill my child?”

Yet somehow after ranting and raving and possibly even shaking my fist at him like Job did, somehow I would have to come to the point where I would somehow say, “I don’t understand, and it hurts, but I trust you God even if you allowed my child to be murdered or maimed.”

Wow, a lot easier said than done, I’m sure. My heart aches for the families of those who lost loved ones and for the victims that didn’t die that they took to the hospital and I find myself even as an objective bystander rather than someone who just lost someone they loved thinking, “Why, why, why?”

Yet somehow in the midst of these tragedies, people seem to sometimes draw closer to God even though it was someone they loved who got killed.

Perhaps because like Job they realize that in God’s omnipotent wisdom things are allowed to occur for reasons that He could never explain to a mere mortal with a finite mind. So we trust him because he is God, our sovereign God, and we trust him especially to bind up the broken hearted now as we pray for the healing to begin.


Linda : ) said...

This morning I read Psalm 150 while thinking about Gentle Dove's thoughts about the families of those killed at Virginia Tech. I was reminded that sometimes we are called to offer a "sacrifice of praise". I think of that as times that praise doesn't come easily because of life's circumstances. The sacrifice is more of offering our hurts, pain, lack of understanding and acknowledging that there is only One who can offer hope.

Then I thought of the kids at Virginia Tech and I thought how they sacrificed their lives. Then I realized that was a wrong thought. They didn't "sacrifice" their lives. Their lives were cruelly taken. Yet we are called to be living sacrifices -- we can voluntarily offer our lives and since we are still among the living this is what we are called to do. "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord, Praise the Lord."