It's the dead of winter, the coldest time of the year. My back is aching. A pandemic is raging. Nerves are frayed. Patience has collapsed in a heap of ruin. And it's the best time to praise God. Yes, you read that correctly. It's the best time to lay aside our troubles and worries, and praise our Creator.
Praising God in good times, for good times, is easy. Praising God in hard times requires more afore thought—more raw determination. Perhaps it's the best measure of our faith.
Stone arch bridge, Perth, ON
The Spirit's fire is stoked or quenched by our rejoicing, our prayer and our thanksgiving. None of these responses—our rejoicing, prayer and thanksgiving—should be driven by the circumstances we find ourselves in. Our circumstances may vary, but God's love for us is constant.Paul and Silas perfectly illustrated the presence of God's Spirit in their lives as they prayed and sang hymns after being severely flogged and imprisoned in Philippi. See Acts 16:16-40. Did their physical pain and circumstances inhibit their rejoicing? Apparently not. They refused to quench the Spirit's fire. Instead, they stoked it.
Is your fire going out? Can you still find some glowing embers among the ashes? Then take some action. Add some fuel. Throw on a few splinters of rejoicing. Log on some prayer time. Top it all with some heartfelt thanksgiving. In the dead of winter, at the coldest time of year, in defiance of a pandemic, let's build the warmest fire.
David Kitz is the chair of The Word Guild. His most recent book series is Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer.