Food for Praise
by Rhonda Rhea
Kids have super weird yet extremely discriminating palates. I know this to be true. I raised five of them. I’m telling you, I remember toddlers completely snubbing dinner, then half an hour later eating a dirt clod and washing it down with bath water.
It’s not like I don’t get it on some level. Not on the dirt clod/bath water level or anything. But believe me, there are parts of this concept I completely understand. The things I know I’m supposed to eat? Sometimes I just don’t want to. Forget your kale. What even is tofu?
Then there are the things I’m not supposed to eat. On that topic…well let’s just say if my husband put my favorite gemstone in a lovely ring setting, that gem would probably look like a chocolate truffle. By “look like” a chocolate truffle I mean it would “be” a chocolate truffle. And then there would just be an empty setting where the truffle used to be. I’m also not entirely convinced that my birthstone is not a tiny cinnamon roll.
Keep your carats. And your carrots.
I know I’m supposed to be a grownup. I’m supposed to say some yesses to kale and no to dirt clods and jewelry you eat. But what are we supposed to do, even as grownups, when we just don’t want to?
When we hit difficulties in life, sometimes praise can become more challenging. Instead of singing His praises, often in those times all we want to do is cry to Him, “Get me out of this!”
I’ve heard people say it’s hypocritical to praise God when we’re just not feeling it, and I would never suggest we pray things to God we don’t mean. He knows our hearts inside and out anyway. I would suggest all day, however, honestly recounting who He is.
It’s during our struggles that we do well to remember we’re praising God, not the circumstances. Praise doesn’t even require being at peace with the circumstances. It doesn’t necessitate understanding them either.
As a matter of fact, praise isn’t so much about our need to understand what God is doing. It’s really more about recognizing that He’s bigger than our understanding. And that He’s better than our best, most enthusiastically optimistic idea of how good He is.
He’s also completely aware and in control of our trials. He’s not uncaring. He’s loving and kind and good. He’s big, He’s powerful, He’s holy, He’s omniscient, He’s…everything. Praise isn’t for us, but still, it’s in our praise that we become all the more aware of who He is.
We can’t begin to even scratch the surface when it comes to understanding His greatness. David wrote “His greatness is unsearchable” in Psalm 145:3 (HCSB). Praising Him, though, reminds us to search anyway. To get our focus off ourselves and the temporary struggles of this life and to place that focus on the eternal God who is ever-worthy. The first part of that very same verse celebrates that “Yahweh is great and is highly praised.”
Sometimes when I need some food for praise, I hang out in the entire chapter of Psalm 145 for a bit. Or Psalm 8 or 111. Or the joy of Psalm 100 or the music of Psalm 150. So many more. They’re food for praise despite our troubles.
And with or without our truffles.