Written In Tears by Luke Veldt
Sacrifice of Praise: Aligning Yourself with God
It is in times of suffering, of course, that aligning yourself with God presents a special challenge. How can you align yourself with God’s purposes when you don’t understand what’s happening around you? When your world has caved in on you?
But perhaps it’s in such times that aligning yourself with God becomes truly meaningful.
The author of the book of Hebrews talks about offering to God “a sacrifice of praise.”10 The sacrifice of praise must cost us something. Every sacrifice has a price; that’s what makes it a sacrifice. A sacrifice that doesn’t cost anything is not worth anything.11
So perhaps praise that costs nothing is not worth much either—or, at least, not worth as much. It’s easy to praise God when things are going well, and it’s the right thing to do. But if we can offer praise to God only when we are basking in His blessings, it’s an empty exercise. By praising God in the hard times—not by pretending to be happy, but by praising Him in the midst of sadness—we validate our praise for Him in the good times.
The more it costs us to praise Him, the more our praise is worth.
David will bless God, regardless of what it costs him. His attitude seems to be, “Though my heart is heavy, I will bless the Lord. I know He loves me, no matter what happens, so I choose to bless Him. I’m on His side.”
In his determination to stick with God despite his pain, David greatly resembles the most steadfast of the Old Testament sufferers, Job. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away,” Job said on the day that he lost his children, his wealth, and his reputation. “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Sometimes people of faith have a hard time remembering that suffering was an excruciatingly painful process for Job. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” we quote Job brightly—forgetting that when he said it he had shaved his head and torn his clothes and that a few days later he was sitting on an ash heap, covered in painful boils and cursing the day he was born.
Job, while blessing the Lord, felt no compulsion to act the way a righteous man was expected to act. He questioned the justice of God, he begged God to leave him alone, he scrounged for answers to his dilemma in places that the theologians of his day thought inappropriate. He was, in fact, blessing God with everything in his being, by seeking out God honestly. “Yes, I will bless the Lord despite my suffering. I will bless Him with my very doubts and fears and despair, if I have to. I’ll keep at Him with all that is within me until He responds. Though He slay me, yet will I trust him; I’ll bless him if it kills me.”12
10. Hebrews 13:15
11. King David understood this well. See the story of his sacrifice in 2 Samuel 24, especially verses 22–24: “Then Araunah said to David, ‘Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him; here are the oxen for the burnt offering, and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king . . .’ But the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.”
12. Job 13:15 NKJV: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.”
This excerpt was taken from Written in Tears: A Grieving Father’s Journey Through Psalm 103
©2010 by Luke Veldt
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