Deborah Beach Giordano
© March 14, 2012
I will bless the Holy One always, giving praise with my every breath;
I will delight in God’s greatness. This is my promise.
~ Psalm 34:1-2
It’s hard to take the psalmist’s words seriously. Vowing to give thanks to God always and everywhere? I wouldn’t dare make a promise like that.
What about when we’re stuck in traffic? Or doing our taxes? What if the toilet overflows, my car breaks down, or I get laid off from work? I can tell you from experience: praising God won’t be the first thing I’ll do.
And what about truly terrible events; when a child is sick, disaster strikes, or a loved one dies? Can anyone be expected to give thanks to God at times like those?
It’s easy to praise the Lord when life is good. We give a little shout of “hallelujah” from an apple-blossom scented garden, at a christening or a wedding; whenever a fond hope comes true. But when things go wrong …. we may whisper a plea for help, cry out in distress, or shout in anger or despair; rarely do we praise God.
But what if we did? What if we made it a practice to “at all times bless the Lord”?
It would require a great leap of faith to say “Thank you, God, for whatever is good in this,” during sickness and sadness and confusion. To speak words of praise in the midst of tragedy would affirm our belief that — somehow, in ways we cannot yet see — God works all things together for good.
And as we blessed the Holy One — always and everywhere — we, too, would be blessed. Our praise and prayers of thanksgiving would remind us to seek the good, the grace-filled, the holy and the hopeful wherever we are, even in our darkest nights. God’s mercy and love extend to the depths and breadth of the universe.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.
~ Psalm 139:11-12