In Psalm 13, David says “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” In stark contrast, at the very end of that same chapter with only 6 verses in all, David says “I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” I can’t help but imagining David on a spiritual see-saw, one minute with the delight of a mature child who understands life’s up and down motion, the next minute as a child taking the ride for the very first time, interpreting it as a cruel game of being yanked quickly up, only to be surprisingly thrust back down. Sometimes our spiritual journey is like a see-saw ride and we feel like God is the big kid on the other end, in merciless control of our ups and downs, laughing at our legs dangling in the air, making a mockery of our inability to touch the ground and just waiting to see us fly off, out of control, into thin air. David was a director of music. He was commissioned several times to use his musical talent as a means to cheer even the King. But his ability to use music as a means of cheering others did not inoculate him from dealing with his own bouts of despair. If you read the Psalms closely, you will see that characteristically, David’s despair always turned to praise. But I’m convinced that his praise was not a result of God using His power to control David’s ups and downs. In some cases, God does rescue us from our despair, until we grow a little taller and realize that our feet can touch the ground. If we pay attention to the motion of life, though as sometimes exciting and frightening as riding a see-saw for the first time, we will begin to recognize when we’re on our way down, and instead of drawing our legs up in fear, we can get the timing right and brace ourselves for hitting rock bottom, ready to push ourselves back up with our very own two feet. Praise is not something inflicted upon Christians so that God can feel better about His day. Praise is a way for us to push ourselves back up. If you’re wondering when God is going to remove the sorrow from your heart and erase the negative thoughts that you wrestle with everyday, it may be time to push yourself back up with praise.
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