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  • Father George

Praising God, even when things are aren't what we want them to be

The Psalms over the past weeks have been some of my favorites but this week is particularly wonderful. It is all about the goodness of God and how our response to that goodness is praise. Praise makes a lot more sense, though, when things are good, doesn’t it? I remember 1993 as a particularly turbulent year in my life. I went through a divorce, the most singularly sad event of my life. I was very lost and not sure where I was going, at almost 30 years of age, in this life that God had given me. God seemed, in fact, very far off. I decided to go back to get my MFA in Acting/Performance in 1994 and remember the moment, after a set of acting auditions at a major theatre conference went really well. I strode down to the Charles River in Savannah, where the auditions were held, and shouted up to the sky, “Yes!” And I praised God. By that time, I had met my wife, Tracey, the love of my life, partner in my life, and 1994 ended up being a pretty good year...

The thing is, I don’t remember praising God much in 1993, when things were on the skids. When we are sick, angry, isolated, and broken-hearted, praising God can be truly challenging; impossible. One of the blessings of the psalms is that they show us praise in times of trial. They do not gloss over personal, spiritual, or societal challenges but the psalmist always (Psalm 137 and 88 being notable exceptions) comes back to the reality of God’s goodness and love. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in Him” v. 8. When we taste the bitterness of life and its attendant trials, we need to know that God is ever good, ever present, and continually worthy of our praise. When others forget, we can help them remember that God is good and loves us/them. Praising God makes us stronger, happier, and more capable humans. “Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord; let us exalt his Name together.” When we praise God, particularly in community, it does something to us, changes us, and brings us more firmly into the presence of God.

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