Garment of Praise


Light snowflakes swirl and tumble tangling above and below each other. Every now and again one blows right into the window as if to say hello and then twirls away again…around and around, up and down. The sun peers slightly out of the cloud covered sky. One lonely snowflake sprints across my field of view trying in vain to catch his friends who have all but vanished.

The branches on the leafless tree sway. What looks barren and lost will soon bloom with life. How do I know? Not by what my eyes can see. For all I see is death. But what is bearing no fruit – what looks dead on the outside is bursting with life on the inside. I am powerless to form one bud on the tree. My construction paper bud taped on the branch is indeed no life at all. It’s a lie, an illusion.

How am I so certain life will come again? Because I’ve seen the process year after year sitting in the same black recliner looking out the same window. The autumn leaves display a show of grand colors before they shrivel and float to the ground, the snow lays heavy on the branches until tiny buds burst into life. I know it because I have seen it to be true in the past. I trust because I have no reason not to believe it will happen again.

Today,  sound is muffled by the blanket of snow on the ground, I still my soul. For in the stillness I see God. I know the sun will shine again, the birds will chirp again, the warm winds will blow again.

Today, I don’t ask why the seasons change. I acknowledge One’s power greater than mine. I don’t wish and long for spring for I know that life with only pleasure brings no joy at all. Without the hard moments, there would be no easy ones. Without the hurt, we can not appreciate the depths of pleasure. Spring without winter would just be normal, mundane, boring.

I trust the One who sees all, who knows all and is working this moment for good. Winter brings life. Without the cold, the insect population would explode bringing destruction to the tree. In cold, the tree holds energy in reserve for building new life. The excess must be pruned from the tree so its structure will be strong and healthy. Pruning in the dormant time stimulates new growth while trimming in the active time stresses the tree.

And when the winter seems endless, I still praise Him. For who am I but an imitator of the True One with my construction paper fruit and duck tape? With palms open, I utter not my will but Thine. I sit in the dead of winter and I waste not the still moments by wishing for spring.

“to provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3


*The above ramblings come from processing some of what we have been learning in church about praise. I am learning praise is more than a moment of worship music or positive words.  Praise is a place I set my mind by acknowledging God is bigger than my understanding, and he is working all things for good. I choose praise when I shift my eyes from my circumstances to God, releasing my expectations of a life without problems.  Instead of searching endlessly for the why praise sets my heart on God’s faithfulness and love.  

 


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