Whether loneliness, physical pain, or loss, we have all gone through valleys in life. Some only walk a short path and others face endless years. When we are at our lowest, can we continue to praise?
The Psalms, laced with desperation, fear, and loneliness, hold some of the deepest heart cries. But as I was looking through the Psalms, I was struck by the theme of undying praise. I found that many Psalms of lament are followed by a song of praise.
Psalm 77: 10-12 records Asaph’s prayer: “Then I said, “This is my grief; yet I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate also on all Your work and ponder on Your mighty deeds.”
In other words, he says: “Yes God, I am suffering, but I continue to praise You for Who You are.” David also concluded many Psalms with praise. In the valleys, he saw the goodness of God at work. While pleading with God to rescue him, he sang. When in fear, he praised God as His fortress. When in frustration, he remembered what God had done in the past.
You may ask, how could he praise when running for his life? David’s response was not normal. We are inclined to joyfully accept the good, and reject the bad. In suffering, we lose our song. In light of our circumstances, we may have no reason to praise. But David looked beyond what He could see. He looked to Who God is. He recounted His love, forgiveness, and goodness.
When we lift our eyes to who God is instead of looking at our valleys, we always have a reason to praise. In light of God’s glory, the depth of our valleys lessen. When we are focused on Him, we can praise knowing that He is far greater than our ups and downs. He is good no matter where we are. Because He is enough, we can always lift our hands in praise.
Psalm 146:2: “I will praise the Lord while I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.