Joy and Praise
The psalmist wrote, "I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."
-Psalm 9:2 (NRSV)
DURING life, there are times when dark clouds crowd in, times when we don't know what to do. God seems to have vanished completely. During one such time in my life, I decided that I needed to get away to think; so I left on a trip to explore Hokkaido by bicycle. As I pedaled the snowy mountain road, the cold wind pierced my skin and numbed my hands. It was quiet and still as death with no one around. "God, why?" I cried out as I rode. Exhausted, unable to pedal further, I walked and pushed my bicycle. I was feeling miserable and beaten.
Then, not knowing what else to do and with as much voice as I had, I praised the Lord. As I did, my eyes were opened to see what the Lord had done for me. And when I heard the Lord's voice saying, "My grace is sufficient for you," I felt as though the fog around my heart had suddenly cleared away. At that moment, I was given the sense that things had been settled, that it was time to go home. The struggle of four weeks had ended. I had come to see that offering up praise is our strength. When we don't know what to do, we can praise. In the same way as in my life, God will give you strength and lead you to a solution.
Nose Makoto (Tokyo, Japan)
Lord, in those times when we don't know which way to turn, teach us to praise you. Amen.