Praising through the hard times is not a natural reaction. In fact, everything in my body wants to question it all when I’m going through a rough patch.
But God wants me to trust Him during those times, and praise Him throughout. Even though it’s hard.
The past few weeks have been a tumultuous time in my life. There’s been no major disaster or loss in my life. But I have moved from one side of South Africa to another, thrown into a new culture and language with little preparation. And I failed to realize in advance how hard that transition would be. But I decided to trust in the Lord, and embrace the change.
A few more things added to my stress, including having to move again and a period of uncertainty while that was happening. Add saying goodbye to 45 of my friends who are departing SA to return home, and I started to resemble a basket case. Finally last week, it looked like it would all work out. My new housing was approved, a pick-up was recruited to help me move, and life seemed like it would return to normal pretty quickly.
Then I found out the one plug in my house didn’t work, and the lightbulb was burnt out. Last THursday, as the sun was setting, I was ready to crawl into bed and cry, and seriously reconsidered if I wanted to stay in SA for another year. I knew the Lord wanted me to, but I didn’t know if I wanted to. One little stress after another had me at my wit’s end, and it seemed like the straw had broken the camel’s back.
As I was about ready to go to bed at 6:30pm, I finally heard a whisper: it’s time to praise in the storm. It’s time to be thankful for my situation, instead of being upset over what hasn’t gone right. It’s time to praise Him, in the good times and the bad. So I started to. And I started to realize how many blessings I was surrounded by….a roof that was keeping the rain off my head, warm blankets to stave of the winter cold, food that didn’t require cooking, a solar powered lamp and hand crank flashlight, my ipod to watch a movie on, the soft patter of rain on my roof, a family that was willing to open their home to me, and knowledge that the next day someone would come to fix my electricity.
Life is never perfect. There are always rough patches and times of uncertainty. Since about April, my life has been pretty uncertain, which is stressful. And sadly, the more stressful it has gotten, the less I have praised Him. Las tweek I realized that was the heart of the problem. Yes, the Lord was testing me. And no, I’m not sure why. But for now, I praise Him.