Downhill and Uphill
My friend and I planned on meeting to catch up on what was happening in our lives. She sent me a text and gave me a choice, "Would you like to meet at a coffee shop or take a walk?" I said, "Let's take a walk." And so we met at a parking lot near a bike trail half way between our homes. And we were off. Walking and talking on a beautiful summer day. She left it up to me when we should turn around and head back to our cars. So I decided at some point, after being lost in conversation, we should head back. And as we did, we both laughed that the hills we were now walking up took a little more effort than when we were walking downhill. They were not big hills, just the subtle shift that can be noticed mostly when you are walking up them. I got to thinking. It is kind of like giving thanks and praise to God is a lot easier when life is going well (walking downhill) than when life is really difficult (walking uphill). Maybe that metaphor is a bit of a stretch, but it is what I am learning right now.
I have understood over the years the absolute benefit of having a thankful heart and the power in praising God, and recently I have discovered how very difficult it can be to praise God in the middle of terrible circumstances. We get wrapped up in the emotions of anger and sadness and devastation and those emotions crowd out what we know helps. I know that it helps my perspective to practice praise. I know that there is power in praising God. I know that it takes my focus off of my finite ability to change or help a situation and places that focus on my infinite all-powerful God, my Heavenly Father. I know that praising God silences my enemy. And I also know I need others to help me in this and that it takes intentionality. I have to make the choice to praise God.
As we walked up and down the hills, we practiced praising God for who He is and thanking Him for what he has done. And it restored my trust in God, (He is always trustworthy) and reminded me that He has not changed and that He is intimately involved in all the details of my life and can make all things new. He is able, and He is mighty to save and He knows what all the needs are of all those who are effected. And as we walked we also noticed God's beautiful creation and noticed the wild flowers and the tiny butterfly and the birds singing. God is still good even when terrible things happen. I encourage you no matter what may be going on in your life, take time to be intentional about practicing praising God!
and the benefit