Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! Psalm 147:1
To praise the Lord is good. Praise is pleasant and fitting, far better than complaining and losing heart. Listen well. It is good to sing praises. Praise is truly fitting, especially from people who do not have good fortune and who have much reason to be sad and distressed. How heart-moving it is to hear their praises. What about the rest of us?
Can we always sing praises? Why do we always first complain or worry or resist? Yes, there are things that make us sad and unhappy, which cause us tears and heartache, fear and anguish. I don’t want to say that we should never weep, never grieve. But let us remember that even when we are in distress, we can exclaim, “God be praised!” We can always think of something joyful. There is always something worthy of praise.
However, to say a quick, almost thoughtless, “Praise the Lord” or “Thank God” is not enough. We have to think more deeply about what these words mean. There is always something we can hold onto that lifts us and others up. If we grasp this rightly, praise will even take away the heavy load of our distress. Then the atmosphere around us will be good, pleasant, and comforting for all those who reach out to us in our affliction – our togetherness will truly be refreshing and a joy.
To fret and wail, to behave as if in despair, causes only heartache. Oh, if only those of us who are downcast and unhappy would be able to praise the Lord! And remember, especially when God has given his grace and salvation to you, do not take his blessings for granted, as if God was obliged to let it always go well with you. Such an ungrateful attitude is hardhearted, and those around you will simply run away from you. No. Learn to praise God, at least when you have obvious reason to do so.
If we are able to tell everybody straight out and with a joyful heart that we praise God and thank him for all his goodness, if we represent and proclaim our kind and merciful God, then we will be a great comfort to many people. We will forget about our own cross and rejoice with those who praise God. Then we will be able to sing songs of praise from the bottom of our hearts. How good, how pleasant it is to praise the Lord!
Johann Christoph Blumhardt