Her hands fastened a hair band at the bottom of her quickly woven braid and her blueberry-blue eyes flickered with confidence. “I’m going out to mow, now” she said.
“Be careful of the wild flowers,” I begged. “Let Dad show you where the triangle is.”
My seeds were purchased last October and carefully planted in the corner of our field Thanksgiving weekend. Even though drought affected most of Texas last year, strategic rain occurred after the holidays, and my flowers were about to burst from their stems.
Later, when I heard her put the mower up in the garage, I went out to see the field and discovered the massive amputation. Due to a miscommunication with her father, my daughter had inadvertently mowed exactly where the flowers were planted. Truly, no one was at fault. I thought my husband understood where I had planted. Although I did not blame anyone, I felt greatly disheartened. I am 85% certain my field flowers will not reform and bloom. My flower show was over before it even had a chance to start.
Life is often the same way. We may find our self, or someone we love, cut down, cut off, or cut apart before they even have had a proper chance. Marriages separate, doctoral programs fold, grades fail, teams lose, houses burn, floods wash away, and lives are claimed by disease, war, and accidents. These are only a few examples. Yet, as a Christian, I am directed to praise God in spite of my circumstances. How is this genuinely possible?
Praise is defined in the dictionary as “words that express approval or admiration for somebody’s achievements or for something’s good qualities.” Perhaps I CAN praise if I shift my focus from the bad in my life and pick something good. I know of only one truly good “thing” or entity and that is God. My praise can be about Him. My words and thoughts can express admiration and approval for Him and His deeds and accomplishments.
After all, I know from the Bible that God’s ultimate desire is not for bad to happen to me. However, He does allow consequence as a result of choice. I can freely choose His way or my way. I know bad things happen because our world is fallen and people are not living as He planned. Wrong things come about because of individual choice and group choice. God did not make humans to be robots. He truly lets us have free will.
So, what does the Bible say about praise? Psalm 96 elaborates on a strategy I will call, “mow praise.”
“O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless and affectionately praise His name….
Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised….
For all the gods of the nations are lifeless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
….ascribe to the lord glory and strength….Give to the Lord glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him into His courts.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before and reverently fear Him, all the earth.
Say among the nations that the Lord reigns; the world also is established, so that it cannot be moved; He shall judge and rule the people righteously and with justice.
Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all the things which fill it.”
Then in verse 12, there’s even a praise from THE FIELD!
“Let THE FIELD be exultant, and all that is in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy…”
Why should we do all this praising?
Verse 13 gives us an answer.
“…for He comes, for He comes to judge and govern the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness and justice and the peoples with His faithfulness and truth.”
In summary, I see several reasons in Psalm 96 for me to praise God in spite of feeling “mowed over.” Here’s my list.
We can praise because GOD IS still great. He is our salvation, worker of marvelous works, maker of the heavens and earth, strong, beautiful, and glorious. He righteously reigns, rules, and judges and will continue to do so even until He comes. He is faithful and true.
“God, remind me often about “mow praise.” Let me learn the habit of rejoicing in You and Your deeds and accomplishments in spite of my own personal circumstance. Indeed, You ARE my great salvation, the maker of this marvelous earth, and my righteous ruler who is strong, beautiful, faithful, and true. You are glorious and I praise You! Amen.”