On a Sunday morning in January, in our church’s worship service, our congregation resounded with musical affirmation of the message provided by one of the praise songs we sang:
Blessed Be Your Name (W/M by Matt and Beth Redman)
In this musical offering, we bless God’s name when we are in situations of bounty and abundance. Yet we also bless His name in times of want and adversity. Four situations are cited within the song:
1. in the land that is plentiful, where … streams of abundance flow
2. in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness
3. when the sun is shining down on me, when the world’s all as it should be
4. on the road marked with suffering, though there’s pain in the offering
In this praise song, we all averred “every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise.” What a wonderful testimony of our faith this is. It certainly may appertain to our arsenal of Christian responses to a world whose God Is. And as the song asserts, it should also apply to our responses to the hidden blessings in our lives as well.
Every blessing that we get we will turn into praise to God. What about blessings embedded in hurt or in insult? The Bible tells us, in Matthew 5:3-12, that we who are poor in spirit are to count ourselves blessed—and to be happy... Do we mourn? Count ourselves blessed and be happy. Christ continued, likewise saying that in the following we also are blessed and are to be happy:
• hungering/thirsting for righteousness
• mercifulness in relationships
• purity of heart
• persecution for righteousness’ sake
• revilement/persecution/slander received on Christ's account
In James 1:2-4, we are enlightened to read that we are to 2“count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” In the coming persecution that accompanies these end times in which we live, may we indeed bless our heavenly Father and glorify His name.
In times of testing, do we see trials as “joy”? When confronted, affronted, abused for our faith or ignored, are we truly “joyful”? If so, then we are indeed blessed; if not, then may it come to be thus—in time, as life goes on. Under duress or stress, we may praise God for His attribute most noticeably seen in the tumult, or we may praise Him for Who He is, and thereby ascribe greatness to Him for His attributes shown more globally in life. But let us truly praise Him during good times and bad, during rewards and trials, that we may become steadfast in Him—lacking nothing.