We were visiting our kids and grandkids in CO over the Christmas holiday, and my iPad went wonky. After an update of the operating system, it wouldn’t turn on. I tried everything. Pushed buttons. Held down buttons. Prayed over it. Maybe even mumbled a curse word (does “flippin” count?). Still wouldn’t turn on.
I hadn’t brought my computer, so the iPad was my only internet connection (besides my phone). My teeth started to itch within minutes (not really, but it’s that nervous feeling that you can’t really describe). So we planned a trip to the Apple Store.
The morning before our visit to the all-knowing Apple techs, I was chatting with our daughter when my hubby emerged from our room with my working iPad in hand. He beamed with pride at his accomplishment. I thanked him and returned to my conversation with our daughter.
Appalled, he interrupted us again and demanded a little recognition for his technical conquest. He had, after all, Googled the problem and fixed it all by himself!
Duly chastised, I realized what a HUGE deal it was for my non-techy husband to get on his computer and venture into the land of iPads to help me. Some real gratitude was in order.
Too Busy To Praise
The following Sunday, we attended worship, and the sermon began with the story of ten lepers (Luke 17)—you know, the one where only one of ten men returned to thank Jesus for healing. The other nine were too busy reporting to priests and resuming their lives to praise Jesus.
The pastor’s comments (CLICK HERE to hear the sermon) hit me between the eyes. I remembered that I had prayed for my iPad to be restored quickly and easily. But did I acknowledge Roy’s “fix” as an answer to my prayer? Nope. I was one of the nine lepers.
An even more dramatic answer to prayer came the day before when my brother-in-law, Dan, woke from a thirteen-day coma. He’d suffered a massive heart attack and stroke nearly two weeks earlier. He was unresponsive and scheduled to be removed from the ventilator (VA policy), but the day before they were to take him off the vent, he began to respond to my sister and their kids!
Can I go on with “life as usual” when God shows off like that? My plan was to write about Miriam in today’s blog post—until I heard that sermon. I will NOT be one of the nine lepers. I will return to Jesus with my praise and shout it from the blogosphere!
HE IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE!!!
Then the “what if’s” started happening…Dan has had ups and downs over the past few days. Does that mean God’s power fluctuates? No. Does His faithfulness flag when our prayers ebb? No.
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
I wouldn’t dare pretend to fathom the mysterious balance of prayer and God’s sovereignty. I know only this. All ten lepers were physically healed, but the one who returned to offer praise was healed beyond physical cleansing. He was “made well” spiritually.
“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this [Samaritan]?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:17-19 (emphasis added)
If we can praise God even amid difficult circumstances—like a leper who must rebuild his life after it’s been destroyed by the social taboos of uncleanness—our God can heal every broken place, inside and out.
Physical healing isn’t the only or best healing God has for us sometimes, and He most certainly never promised to save us from trouble—but rather to walk with us through it.
Whether your life is peaceful or chaotic, trouble-filled or trouble-free, we serve a God who is worthy of our praise…
The Power of Praise
1. He is the God who ANSWERS…
“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” Psalm 138:1-3 (ESV, emphasis added)
2. He is the God who CARES…
“All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.” Psalm 138:4-6 (ESV, emphasis added)
3. He is the God who DELIVERS…
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:7-8 (ESV, emphasis added)
May your heart be so full of praise in 2016 that you can’t be silenced! Praise our God who answers, cares, and delivers, and let your life overflow with remarkable gratitude.