Praising God in Trying Times

It is easy to praise God when we are winning at life, but what does it look like when things are not going our way? It is easy to see God in triumphant moments but not so much when we feel He is silent.

As people of God we are called to honour Him, trust Him and praise Him in all circumstances.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God. β€”Psalm 42:11

The psalmist here instructs himself to hope in God and expresses an inner determination to keep praising Him.

Is it possible to praise God in difficult times?

I love this quote by Louie Giglio “God’s plans for your life far exceeds the circumstances of your day.”

Our circumstances may not always be good, but God is always good.

Our circumstances change, but He does not.

The outcome of our circumstances may not be certain, but we can be sure of Him. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)

He is faithful and it is a choice we have to make to praise Him in spite of the mountains we face.

In Acts 16:16-36, we read how Paul and Silas sing praises to God when they are imprisoned. They were preaching and teaching the word of God in their travels when they encounter a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit that allowed her to speak about the future which proved to be a source of easy income for her owners. She kept following and bothering them. Paul eventually gets troubled with this and heals her and frees her from this spirit. The owners are unhappy with the loss of their source of easy money and under false pretences they get Paul and Silas arrested, beaten and imprisoned.

In the NIV it says Paul was troubled, to get a little more clarity – in the NIRV it says he got upset, in the amplified version it says he got annoyed and tired.

Paul would be the first to acknowledge he is not perfect and merely human. We see a glimpse of his humanity here. He freed the girl of the spirit in the name of Jesus but we get the idea that his intention was to put a stop to her bothering them rather than pure kindness.

It is good to be reminded that we do not have to be perfect for God to use us.That while we are called to serve God, HIS saving and healing power is not dependent on our motives or patience. HE works through us even when we are not at our best.

In the second half of the story we see Paul being remarkably patient. He and Silas are singing praises to God after being beaten, imprisoned and shackled.

Paul discerns God’s bigger purpose here.

We may not have control over our problems but we can have control over how we respond in light of those problems.

If I try and imagine myself in a similar situation, I think I will find myself praying, yes, most probably asking God to get me out of the situation but to be singing, praising and declaring the goodness of God. I am not so sure I would right away find myself doing that.

Verse 25 of Acts 16 says “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying. They were also singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening to them.”

The other prisoners were listening to them singing and praising God. That gave me pause, the world is listening to what believers say and do. We can either grumble about our problem or praise our God.

What we face in life can be huge and often feel like unfair challenges, but we can choose to praise the one bigger than our problems.

Praise changes our perspective.

What does praising God in the midst of trying times helps us do?

Praise takes our eyes off the problem and puts our faith in alignment with Jesus. It allows us to believe for something bigger, to hope in HIM who is steadfast.

We then read of the sudden earthquake that opens all the prison doors and loosened their chains, the jailer terrified of what would happen to him when his superiors discovered the prisoners escaped under his watch, thought to take his own life but Paul assured him that no one has escaped.

How do we respond to a hopeless situation?

Let’s take a quick look at the jailer’s response to a hopeless situation – he responds in a hopeless way, by thinking there was only one solution. But how do Paul and Silas respond to a hopeless situation – with hope, by praising God.

The jailer then asks what he must do to be saved and Paul says that he must believe in the Lord Jesus. Yes, there is no other way.

The same jailer who most probably was among those who inflicted the beating takes them home, washes their wounds and gives them a meal. His whole family gets baptised.

We see that things shifted when Paul and Silas praised God in the midst of their difficult situation.

Did Paul and Silas get released immediately? No, their breakthrough came only the next day when they were released from the prison.

The praise and worship of Paul and Silas not only changed their situation but it also changed the situation of someone else and their family.

Our pastor mentioned something that stuck with me, he said that when something happens, we tend to focus on the ‘why’ a lot but let us also look to the ‘what’– what is God going to do through this.

Sometimes we get the answer to the ‘why’ really quick. But in this story the ‘why’ was the miracle for the Jailer and his family rather than for Paul and Silas.

Sometimes the mountain that is in the way for us becomes the platform on which to stand because of what God has done in us and He uses that to reach other people through us.

True joy and peace do not originate with us but HE is the source of it all and HE blesses us with it.

No matter what, I will bless the Lord at all times-his praise shall continually be on my lips – Psalm 34:1.

God Bless.

34 thoughts on “Praising God in Trying Times

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  1. Wonderful post! Thanks for pointing out that we do not have to be perfect for God to use us. It’s His power working in us that causes us to fulfill His purpose.

    It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:27, ”Instead God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. We never know what we will do in a given situation that is difficult. I think that is why I think God delights in allowing us to face difficult times. It is only when we truly face the unknown that we discover if our roots are in the bedrock of Christ or not.

    Often on our homeless journey we met people who made boasts about their faith. Shoot, even I did that. Once, before we were actually locked out of shelter, I said to our host that I would even be willing to sleep in a snowbank in following Jesus. Well God heard that and tested our family. We did sleep in a snowbank; not once but twice.

    So God hears what we say and lets us have that to test our hearts. That is not a bad thing for when we see that our faith is not as deeply rooted in Jesus as it ought to be it spurs us on to greater faith.

    After a time of testing one begins to see what response will come out. Before God and yourself you are becoming a known quantity. Having been through fires I will say that praise and gratitude are quick to arrive at our lips and hands now. But that has come with a tremendous cost and great deal of training. For those that have not walked through such fires as Paul did I would suspect praise takes time to bubble to the surface.

    It takes time to adjust to hardship. When it first comes it is very disorienting and our ‘self’ nature takes over in reacting. As we adjust, and put down ‘self’, the spirit response of praise and gratitude becomes more natural. Initially we have to will ourselves to do this. Our praise is stilted and faltering but if you don’t quit it gets better over time.

    So the lesson from Paul’s life is don’t quit. Before you read what happened to Paul and Silas in prison it would be good to read 1 Cor. 9:11-13. Once you understand what Paul went through it makes his praise of Jesus in prison understandable. The key to Paul’s success, and anyone who follows Jesus in faith, is to not quit and always stay humble. Without those no one makes it through the wilderness.

    Homer Les

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    1. Thankyou for sharing your heart in this matter. I agree that praising God in difficult situations will to come easily and it comes with great cost and a great deal of training.

      When we as a family we’re going through a tough time it was hard to feel like thanking God but we had to will ourselves to do to let everything overwhelm us and it does not mean that we did not have days that we just felt miserable. But I understand what you are saying , we should not quit, keep hoping in our Lord Jesus. Thank you for sharing that verse.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I just realised that there are a few typos in my reply, sorry about that. When I was sorting out my response to you my pooch was in my lap and so I was sitting in an odd position to keep him comfortable and hence the mistakes πŸ™‚.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No need to apologize. I think even the animals need to input every once in a while. πŸ™‚

        My dog has an uncanny knack for keeping me humble and for that I owe him a huge debt of gratitude! Your desire to keep your dog comfortable speaks volumes more to me than any mistakes.

        Homer Les

        PS – I can’t say that my dog caused my mistake in my verse today. That was just a plain ol’ brain fart. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Yes, it helps to remember that when we don’t get what we want, one reason could be that God wants something BETTER for us than what we desire. (Example: In Genesis, Joseph just wanted to be free and go home, but God had planned that he would become the prime minister of Egypt and save the world from starvation.) When we keep that in mind, it’s easier to pray for what’s GOING to happen. πŸ˜‰

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  3. There is so much truth in this post! And so many little nuggets to think about. Yes, it can be very difficult to sing praises in times of trouble. But if we keep the perspective that God is always working on us and through us, it helps alter our attitude. Thank you for this wonderful post!

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  4. Amazing! I was doing a bible study only on Wednesday and that was the exact passage in Acts 16 and we discussed what a sacrifice of praise meant to us… Maybe God is still saying something to me… Thankyou. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it’s interesting that when the prison walls collapsed, not only did Paul and Silas not run away, but the other prisoners didn’t, either, although that would have been a natural response. Since they were listening to Paul and Silas, I’m guessing they had been deeply influenced and decided to do whatever Paul and Silas did, which was to stay put.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I did think of that when I was digging into this passage and thought (jokingly) that they must have thought it would be wiser to stick with this Paul chap as His God seems to be quite powerful.
      Jokes aside, they were definitely influenced and I also think God would have worked in their hearts to stay put for the jailers sake too. God I am sure had plans for him, we never know how many people he in turn pointed to Christ as a result of his coming to faith.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I lovedπŸ’š β€œSometimes the mountain that is in the way for us becomes the platform on which to stand because of what God has done in us, and He uses that to reach other people through us.” πŸ’š Encouraging and inspiring post🌸

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow Perth Girl!! This really ministers to my heart today. Just meditating upon the verses you mentioned of Paul and Silas really encourage me to keep praising and praying in my own trials. The jailor’s conversion along with his family is such a display of God’s power and working in the hardest times and situations. We don’t always see the outcome in our lives but I know God will reveal everything to us one day in eternity. I’m blessed by this post this morning dear One! God bless you! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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