I know this sounds shocking, especially since I’m a Christian, but I don’t always feel like thanking my Creator when the cares of the day and the weariness of life drag me down. It takes everything inside me to thank the One who deserves more praise than I am able to offer. Like laryngitis setting in, I lose my voice to worship. Although there is no diagnosis code listed in the ICD-10, this spiritual condition goes by several names ~ melancholy, loneliness, disappointment, despondency, selfishness, hope deferred, unforgiveness, rejection ~ and causes me to lose the melody in my heart, removing my desire to sing, praise, and worship God. Even though I know He’s a good God, I’m unable to get beyond the symptoms clogging my spirit and unsettling my heart. Yet, this is the perfect time for me, as one of His children, to offer Him my praise, thanksgiving and worship.
Thankfully, I know worship is more than a song I sing in a public setting; it’s a lifestyle, a condition of my heart and about turning my worship into action. Daily worship is life transforming and ushers in healing and hope. When the challenges of life become overwhelming and I’m going through a difficult or discouraging time, worship is hard ~ grueling, even ~ and sometimes seemingly impossible.
Praise doesn’t cost me something and is often my response to some action directly benefitting me. I praise my dog, Pesto, for fetching her ball, sitting, staying, and not jumping on guests in my home; I praise my children for a job well done and handing their homework in on time, and I praise God from the same motivation. When He blesses me, helps me, and protects me and my family, I feel generous. I sing, worship, and talk about how good He is because I can see it. Yet, that kind of praise, even though it’s worthwhile, doesn’t cost me anything and isn’t sacrificial.
To praise God during difficult times is a personal sacrifice, an act of my will to lay everything on an altar before Him and isn’t based on my opinion of His job performance. When I bring a "sacrifice of praise," I’m choosing to believe that even though my life may not be going as I want it to, He is good and trustworthy. Genuine praise continues regardless of my circumstances and in spite of the storms. This way He is honored, and my faith grows deeper.
The "sacrifice of praise" spills over from a humble heart, one purified by fire, and it rises from a spirit choosing to honor God in spite of the pain life is causing. Verses 16 and 17 of Psalm 51 express this best: "You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise."
Whereas overuse of my voice can cause laryngitis, there is no way to overuse my voice to praise God. Continually praising Him will not result in the host of unpleasant physical symptoms associated with laryngitis including hoarseness, voice loss, a raw throat, and a cough. So, it’s time to forget the humidifier and home remedies, the aromatherapy and voice rest, drinking hot tea, and using numbing throat drops, and make an appointment with Jehovah Rapha, the Great Physician and Healer of my broken heart and downtrodden spirit and head for heaven’s holy medicine cabinet ~ my Bible.
I open my Bible and ask, “God, what do You have to say about this?” and find that His advice is better than, “Take two aspirin and call Me in the morning.” He doesn’t hand me a prescription; He asks me to wrap myself in a garment of praise. When I do what He says, He lightens my heart, dispels the darkness surrounding me, and causes all demons to flee.
The bottom line is this. In spite of every circumstance I face, I am determined to bless, honor and worship God for He alone is worthy, inhabiting my praises and filling my heart and my home with His glory. No matter how weak my spiritual voice becomes, when I sing praises, I feel better instead of feeling worse, I get stronger instead of weaker, and my sacrifice doesn’t seem so sacrificial anymore. Worshipping becomes a privilege, and I am reminded of Kirk Dearman’s song:
And we offer up to You the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And we offer up to You the sacrifices of joy.