Tony was talking about how to get through the tough stuff and how to praise God when it hurts the most. It reminded me of how Jeremy Camp talked about how he lost his first wife to cancer and God had instructed him to give Him praises there at her bedside after she had taken her last breath. He said it was so hard, but he did it anyways and it was such a beautiful time of worship and comfort.
Jeremy Camp wasn’t the first (or the last) person to experience a terrible loss and then be expected to go on with his faith. Long before any of us were born, there was a man named Job. I think most of us know his story (and it’s all chronicled in the Bible). Tony used Job’s story to drive home the point of making a sacrifice of praise because it’s in those times that it is the most crucial and powerful time to do so (like with Jeremy). Tony said there is great spiritual victory in praising God when we are hurting. We just lay it all down at His feet and in those moments of brokenness and surrender, we heap burning coals on Satan’s head. Can you imagine how frustrated and angry Satan must have been when Job, Jeremy, (and anyone he thinks he’s got broken down beyond repair) praised God and gave Him glory anyways? Satan had had to ask God permission to even touch Job. When God decided to allow it, Satan just had a hay day! Yet, none of Satan’s misery could make Job “curse God and die” (and he can’t make me do it either! ;) LOL).
Tony reminded us that God is so awesome!! Just as God reminded Job in chapter 38, He is sovereign and in control of all things. Regardless of what we THINK we know or understand, there are greater things and a bigger picture that we don’t always see or know about. Often, we don’t understand the purpose of our suffering (or the sufferings of others). God assures us, however, that it will work for good (Romans 8:28).
Regardless of if things are going good or going bad, give God the praise! Tony reminded us to embrace that because praise opens doors for many things. An attitude of thanksgiving and praise goes a long way - why else would the apostle Paul remind the saints to encourage each other, and give thanks and praise to God so often? Praise is powerful (it reminds me of the short little book “Prison to Praise” by Merlin Carothers. Check that one out!).
The message ended by sharing the testimony of a guy many of you may have heard of. His name is Nick Vujicic and he was born without limbs ( you can learn more about him on his website: http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.
In closing, remember to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 which says: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.” As hard as that may be sometimes, it’s something that will richly bless our hearts (and the hearts of others) if our souls are overflowing with prayers of thanksgiving and praise!! Grace and peace to all of you!!