When Life Gets Weird, Rise up in Praise

When Life Gets Weird, Rise up in Praise

Graciousness and Blessing
Psalm 67
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
How can I ask for what I have?
How dare I act as if
the abundance surrounding me doesn’t exist?
Did the Writer-of-the-Psalm
not know how much of God’s
graciousness and blessing we already have?
It seems almost impertinent
to ask over and over for what
has already been given—
over and over and over and over…
But then there is the question
of whether or not
we are actually capable of noticing,
taking in, all the
graciousness and blessing
we are constantly given.
It could be we are de-sensitized to grace,
and in our human-state of self-recognition
we have become numb to blessing.
Maybe the prayer should be,
Awaken my awareness and
let me discover the grace I know not,
let me embrace blessings I pass by,
let me rest upon the hope I struggle so much to get,
and, oh God,
allow me to recognize your graciousness
and blessing as it is manifest in others as well.
AND help me to truly learn to revere you.
# # #
Psalm 67 — New Revised Standard Version

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and may God’s face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere God.
# # #
Trying to think beyond my own needy self for a moment or two, and imagine what my life would like if God was not gracious to me, and if God withheld blessings from me. It would be a pretty ghastly scenario. A total disaster. The point is clear to me that regardless of how much carping and whining and complaining I do, I still exist saturated in God’s graciousness and God’s blessing. If I weren’t, I would plain and simply be dead. So would we all.

We sometimes convince ourselves that life is bad. AND, yes, there are horrible things going on in the world and sometimes to us. But the kicker is that I know people for whom life is a living hell, and at times ongoing torture, who are still able to find good in the midst of their fractured living. These people would somehow find God’s graciousness and blessing in the middle of a curse! I am not kidding.

I do not mean to suggest that they just looked at their tragedy through rose-colored glasses and acted as if there was nothing wrong at all. As if all was just ducky. No, they looked at their predicament and acknowledged it, but, instead of stopping and focusing solely on the bad, they found some small good thing and focused on it while dealing with the rest of it. This is a practiced mind-set. They have somehow learned the mental and spiritual joy coming from this kind of life-style as opposed to one of carping, complaining, and crying.

Folk singer, John Stewart writes, “Devils and angels belong in the church, we try for the best and we deal with the worst…” What do we do with the bad? How do we act after horror strikes? The answer to this is, of course, that while we may have no choice about the random things life brings, we do have choices as to how we will deal with them and the actions we take. What we do and how we act after a horrible event is always up to us and what quality we choose for our spiritual and psychological existence.

We can allow the stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) to work themselves out, by seeking counseling and help through this emotional time and allowing healing to take its natural course, or we can shut down, close up, turn off, and let whatever happened run our lives there after. Is there a “should” that we should do after we or a loved one is stricken? No. There are no right or wrong ways to deal with grief, except if we choose a course that is destructive to us or our loved ones or both. I find that if a person is to get stuck in their grief, they usually get stuck in either the Anger Stage, or the Depression Stage.

I suggest that when we perceive that some tragedy happened to us, we should stop for a moment and apprehend whether or not it actually is a major tragedy or if it is something lesser. Let me make clear that I am not writing of losing a loved one, or developing a terminal illness, or sustaining a severe, debilitating injury, to all of which what I am writing might apply, however I am writing about day-to-day events. Those things that seem to get blown all out of proportion making us vent our rage and think violent thoughts. We tend distort much smaller events in ways that make them seem more extreme than they actually are. It seems our being thwarted in our daily lives, can almost destroy us. I do believe that nurturing a bad attitude and a negative mentality is key to a succession of failures. I also believe that nurturing a good attitude and a mentality of overcoming-the-odds is key to success. It is also good practice for when things get really, really bad.

God’s grace and blessing are always surrounding us. I believe that even if we choose to maintain an attitude of grouchiness, God’s grace is still pervasive, still saturating us all unbeknownst to us. If we rise up in praise, we open ourselves fully to that grace. God is always working in us. Sometimes we are closed off to that work and do not experience it. Sometimes we do. For me, I want to experience as much of God’s graciousness and blessing as possible. Because I want this, I try to keep myself ready for that experience by keeping the door as open as I can. Sometimes I succeed.



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