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?


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