Monday, April 29, 2013

Tough Times

With my back on the concrete floor and arms open wide, I stared at the fluorescent light overhead. The girls were finishing the last of their sit-ups and I was waiting my turn.

“All glory to our God and King,

Every crown thrown down in offering

Every knee shall bow and voice proclaim

You are God, You are King”

The words rang clearly in my ears as they drowned out my quickened heart beat. It was my turn to finish the sit-ups. I thanked the Lord that the end of the workout was closing in. Team workout days are my favorite but they are hard.

The light seemed to shine brighter, and I could hear the song even louder. And, I thought of my sweet Amy who shared the Gospel with her dying friend yesterday. I prayed that God would give her great wisdom and would show Himself faithful as she speaks the truth of His Word.

And the words screamed out at me...

“Oh praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him.”

The image of my friend Susan who has just returned home from over two weeks at the hospital bedside of one of her children...not to mention that she has only been home from Colombia for a little over two months with a newly adopted child. That’s a tough road to take.

“Oh praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him.”

God, you want me to praise you during sit-ups?

Yes, even now.

“Oh praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him."

Giving God thanks during physical pain isn’t near as hard as praising Him during trying times like my friends have faced these past few weeks. Praising God in the midst of pain and suffering is tough. So, how do you do it?

CONSISTENT DISCIPLINE of praising God daily. That’s the answer. And, it’s NOT easy. Consistent discipline in ANY area is attained by daily performing that task/duty/thought/behavior well over a sustained period of time.

Small things, like making the bed, brushing your teeth, and exercise are physical tasks that, when performed daily, become a habit or a discipline in your life. Larger items including daily Bible study, memorizing Scripture, quality time with your kids, eating healthy, and sharing the Gospel are developed OVER TIME when we consistently (daily) do them.

My husband used to teach people to rappel and rock climb when we were in college. Hanging off the side of a cliff 100 feet up in the air with only a rope around your waist will get you to thinkin’. And, then JT would say, “If you can attach a physical principle to a spiritual concept, you will never forget it.” As the person began to descend the mountain, they would hear about trusting in God and a great hope for the future. I can never read Isaiah without thinking about the true hope of the Lord and what it means to wait on Him!

Today, there are small things (and big ones) that you can do to develop those daily disciplines that will prepare your heart and mind for tough times to come. Will you be ready to face those days knowing that you have done everything He has required of you? What can you do today to get ready?

“Oh praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him, oh Praise Him.”

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