Praise God! I’m a loser

crossHe makes the winning touchdown and makes a gesture toward the sky, looking upward.

The band comes onstage to accept the gold award and says to the glamorous audience, “This is for the glory of God—praise Jesus!”

The child lives through a bout of double pneumonia and the good news goes out in text messages starting, “Praise God! He’s breathing on his own!”

I’m all for visible gestures of faith. It’s good and right to dedicate our successes to something higher than ourselves. We relate best as humble people rather than selfish, superior beings. I’m not against the gestures but I have to wonder, is it too easy to give praise when we feel blessed?

What is our praise worth if we give it when we’re feeling like winners?

The other side

Do we see the losing team thanking God, transforming their effort and the opportunity to play into a devotion?

How do we learn about the faith of artists who are never recognized publically but still use every fiber to express their human experience?

Can we still praise God during a late night in the pediatric intensive care unit when the child dies in the room next to the child who lives?

Is our praise conditional?

Losing

When I look at the course of my life, and the balance sheet between wins and losses, successes and failures, it would fall on the side of more losses and failures. Success is sweet but it takes many tries to get there. It lasts for only a moment.

There are the big losses—of a parent, relationship, pet or job—but many more small losses, daily losses, like a friend who disappoints you, a misunderstanding with your spouse before you leave for work or rejection where you wanted to belong.

Can we still give thanks and praise when our blessings aren’t obvious? 

Do we trust God and give praise now for blessings we’ve had and blessings still to come?

I would like to be that kind of person, who opens my heart to grace in every moment. Let me live as a person who praises, rather than judges each situation as good or bad, worthy or unworthy of my gratitude. I want to wake up and see there is goodness and sweetness in the hardest of times.

I leave you with this prayer.

Help us smudge the line between praising and breathing
so our life becomes a song.
Let us give thanks in our losses.
Praise God! We’re in the game

8 thoughts on “Praise God! I’m a loser

  1. Great post!

    You asked in the post what our praise is worth if we give it when we’re feeling like winners and I think if is sincere then it has plenty of worth. Although IMO, and to answer a the second question, if it is only given when something positive happens… it is conditional.

    As many do, I believe I fall into this conditional category… praising Him only when it something happens beneficial too me. This post is a great reminder for me to work on it. I’ll try to be more like Job. One who lost everything, his home, family and all his goods, but still in his hard times thanked the Lord.

    1 Thessalonians 5:18 – give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

    Keep the posts coming! I enjoy reading them.

  2. Such great thoughts Gen–I struggle with this contradiction all the time-if God is on “our” side, then who’s on the other guy’s side?

  3. I try to pray when I am struggling even in traffic or frustrating situations, I say, “Thank you God for all your blessings, big and small.” I loved this post because this year I have a goal of submitting my stories 100 times and that may mean receiving more than 90 letters in which they are declined. This post helps me to feel more brave about my decision.

  4. Great thoughts, Gen! I’m not big on publicly praising – I do most of mine silently. I am in a habit of praising God just for life, but I don’t do it enough. I used to do it nightly by thanking him for my health and that of my family (and even my animals) and then asking him to watch over them. But now, I haven’t been doing that, and I probably should. Thanks for the reminder.

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