The reason that Paul and Silas could praise God in the prision cell was because they knew God was with them.
Psalm 16:7-9 says:
I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts His praises. My body rests in safety.
People were always after David, his land and his throne, yet he had a lifestyle of praise in all situations because he had learnt that God was with him and that God was and is good in the midst of whatever was happening around him. Paul, Silas and David had faith that God had their back.
Despite the situations and circumstances David, Silas, and Paul praised God. Some of Davids psalms contain him crying out for the wicked to get what they deserve, for protection from those threatening his life and the promises God had given him. This makes me think that life wasn’t a bunch of roses all the time for David. Yet his psalms still tell of Gods greatness, faithfulness, protection and favour for David.
I believe that praise changes our perspective and our countenance. In Paul and Silas’ case it caused chains to be broken open, freedom to come and a miracle happened. Praise also inspires others (when they hear it), and praise blesses God.
v9 : No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rests in safety.
In Hebrew mouth reads glory – so it could be read as: no wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my glory shouts his praises! Any glory that I have is from God and shows that God is in my life changing, and renewing me; protecting and teaching me; encouraging and favouring me. His glory on me shows that I have relationship with God, that I have been in his presence.
I choose to praise God regardless of the situations and circumstances I find myself in. When I praise God I find my focus shifts from being stuck on negative, selfish and small minded thoughts to positive and hopeful. When I praise I am reminded of how big and mighty he is. I recall how loving, caring and just he is. I am also reminded that God’s timing is perfect, (although he’s missed some awesome opportunities to be early) and that even before I was born he knew the great plans he has for me. I can trust that God is never surprised by what happens daily in my life. He is never caught off guard.
And although right now I don’t know if I will ever get pregnant, or what lengths we will have to go through to get pregnant, I can trust that God is in control. Completely. And knowing that helps me to praise Him.
I hope I praise God, not for what he can do, but because of who he is. I know that as a very ‘real’ human that sometimes its hard not to mix this up. Lucky for me, my God is full of grace and mercy and understands my heart beneath the praise. I never want to become a person who gives lip service to God, or uses him as a lucky rabbits foot or believe that if I praise and pray in a certain way every day then I will get my hearts desire.
No, I praise God because he is worthy. Even if everything in my life has come apart I hope that I will still stand up and praise God. Yes I will still have doubts and questions and maybe even a choice word or two. But I think my God can handle that.
I believe that God is always with me, when I’m having a blood test, getting a scan, meeting with the doctor, taking my medication – God is right beside me. He is the reason I can get up each morning and work, with joy in my heart, with other people’s children. Is my life always a sunshine of roses? Is the smile plastered on sometimes? Is it hard to keep praising God each month that passes where I am still barren? Yes, yes and yes again.
But then I start praising God anyway and I’m reminded of who He is all over again.