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  • Ed Hlad

Not The Answer I Was Looking For

Take a moment or two to meditate on Psalm 95: “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, ‘They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.’ Therefore I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

I was listening to a message the other day and the preacher quoted someone and his words have been rattling around in my head ever since. He said, “In America, we do not worship God as much as we use God”. Chew on that for a moment or two. Do our prayers look like Psalm 95 or are they mostly a list of requests? Do you stop and worship the greatness of your God or is the only time you do that when you sing worship songs in Church? How often have you stopped your life to simply give him praise for his beautiful creation, or for supplying your many needs, or for his amazing grace in your life? In relation to the amount of crying out to him for something, which we should always be doing, how often do you dwell on his beauty?

I heard from two folks who are on the front lines of fighting this virus. One was in health care and the other was a public servant. Both made the same comments. People are really beginning to struggle mentally and emotionally with this isolation and social distancing. Children especially. Anger, depression, frustration, and fear is gripping their hearts and it is affecting their actions. Maybe you find that you are one of those people. The pressure that this change in lifestyle has placed on all of us is wearing you down. It may be in small ways and it may be in larger ways. I would like to suggest some help.

I chose Psalm 95 for a reason. God promises that those who go astray in their hearts and who do not take the time to remember the great works of God will not receive the rest that he has promised. The peace of God will not be with them. A major solution to unrest is to worship. Not simply crying out to God in our distress, which is good to do, but to also take time to worship him. To think through all the reasons he is worthy of our worship. To not define his love or grace by what is happening in your life now but by all that he has done in the past and all that he promises to do in the future. I love the song “Count Your Blessings” and I think that is good to do. It is certainly part of lifting up praise to God. But we also need to take great chunks of time to review the character and beauty of God. We need to lead our children in this practice.

We have a few extra moments on our hands these days. Our schedules have slowed down. We find that we are enjoying our family more. We are getting projects around the house more. We are cooking and organizing. How about we use some of those moments to get alone with God and simply praise his name. After your alone time, gather your children and lead them in a time of simply praising God for who he is. Not being in church may have robbed us of our only time when we would normally do just that. Not having this kind of time will knock us way out of balance. We may not realize it, but think if this time has been missing in your life.

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