Rest for the Weary
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PRAISE & WORSHIP
> HIS GRACIOUS CHOICE
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Sep 10, 2012 05:47AM
"His Gracious Choice"
Many times as I've unpacked something I've purchased, I've found enclosed a warranty and a little card bearing a survey from the manufacturer. I've rarely, if ever, filled out such a survey. I suspect that very few people complete these and mail them in. But there are two categories of people who are quite likely to fill out a manufacturer's survey: those who are dissatisfied with the product (and perhaps hoping for a refund) or those who find that a product has exceeded their expectations and want to express their joy.
The same sorts of motivations prompt people who don't, under ordinary circumstances, pray to express their joy or grievances to the "manufacturer of our circumstances." The birth of a child may prompt a new parent to send up a prayer of gratitude, though they may not know who will hear the prayer. Others shake their fist in the air when tragedy strikes, unsure who might be up there to blame. Both of these are circumstances when we should be in touch with our maker. In fact, our natural response in the extreme joys and extreme sorrows of life points us to what should be our response for everything. We were created to ponder, question, seek out, and worship the God who made us.
We never are and never will be dispassionate observers of God's creation or God's will. We are a part of that which He has made. Some write and talk about God and his dealings with mankind as if they were literary critics, removed from the story. But we are caught up in it, and our role is to constantly reflect the one who is telling the story. Lyrics written by Matt Redman capture the paradox that even praise of God Himself would not be possible if God did not enable it:
We have nothing to give
That didn't first come from Your hands
We have nothing to offer You
Which You did not provide
Every good, perfect gift comes from
Your kind and gracious heart
And all we do is give back to You
What always has been Yours
Lord, we're breathing the breath
That You gave us to breathe
To worship You
Those who never fill out a manufacturer's survey are still likely to pay attention to the manufacturer's instruction. Our creator has advised us that praise is good for us; we read in Psalm 135:3, "Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant." Psalm 150:6 says, "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!" It is hard to think of a more all-encompassing command found in Scripture.
I like the way one hymnodist expresses the idea that we were created to praise God:
"Praise is his gracious choice."
Praise is not the penance we owe to the God who has blessed us beyond what we deserve.
Praise—even the kind that begins with wrestling—is a gift from God, for us, for our good.
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