August 30, 2018·Brenda Hicks
As one of those who writes the weekly Pause emails, I felt like I had won the lottery when I discovered Psalm 117 was part of this week’s reading. The short list of facts about this Psalm would fill my introductory paragraph and have me well on my way to completing my writing assignment.
Since you MUST be thinking at this point, “What might those interesting facts be?” – here you go. Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm and the shortest chapter in the Bible. And, depending on which Google search you deem the most accurate (based on mathematical data that I admittedly skimmed and perhaps naively trusted), Psalm 117 is the middle chapter of the Bible. Probably NOT the exact middle of the entire Bible, but pretty close. It was at this point in my thoughts that I quickly found myself stuck – kind of like Psalm 117 – right there in the middle…with what seems at first glance to be just a few simple words about praising the Lord.
Ever been there? In the middle of a challenge or circumstance thinking, “I’m stuck and I don’t know how to get unstuck.” The more we try to problem-solve, the more complicated things become – for sure in our minds, and maybe in the circumstances as well, because we just seem to be really good at complicating things. Sometimes, the simplicity of God’s Word is exactly what we need to get unstuck. Simple like Psalm 117!
This Psalm begins and ends with the same three words – Praise the Lord. Seems pretty simple – I’m stuck, so I will praise God. Too often, this is not my first response to the discouraging and frustrating place of feeling stuck. Then there’s the matter of it not being as easy as it sounds. Seems there’s a bit more to the solution than just repeating three words.
What is it about the power of praise that gets us unstuck? It has everything to do with our focus on His great love and enduring faithfulness. When I choose to praise God for His intentional love for me and His enduring faithfulness, breakthrough comes in how I perceive and how I process days or seasons of being stuck. My trust in His power to work in the circumstance increases, and I relinquish trying to make things happen according to my plan and timeline. Praise makes space for God’s presence in our lives (less room for complaining and negativity) AND, praise presses back the works of darkness.
If you feel stuck today in an area of your life, I encourage you to find time for expressing your praise to God. Receive the full embrace of His great love for you and accept His promise of never ending faithfulness.
“Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise Him, all you people of the earth.
For His unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 117, NLT)
BTW – you don’t have to be “stuck in the middle of something” to experience the power of praise in your life. I highly recommend frequent times of praising our great God every day!
Pastor Brenda Hicks