Praise on Bleak Days

Good Friday was a dark day. Literally: darkness miraculously fell from midday to three in the afternoon.

But it must have felt pretty bleak too for Jesus’ friends the disciples. He’d predicted his death and resurrection several times before they happened, but they’d never quite understood it (see, for instance, Matthew 17:22-23).

So when Jesus died, his disciples thought they’d lost their friend, leader, and all the hopes they had pinned on him.

Our own experience of Good Friday and Easter Saturday will be a lot brighter in Plymouth: the weather forecasters say the sun is going to shine.

But this weekend – and many days either side of it – may well feel pretty bleak too. We’re used to praising God as we meet with friends, share meals, see family, meet for coffee, walk on Plymouth Hoe, and enjoy the great outdoors.

And it may be that as these opportunities have been removed from daily life, your praise for God has dried up too.

I’m finding that in lockdown I need help to praise God. And I’ve found that Psalms 145-150 are ideally placed to do that.

Each of these psalms begins and ends with praise to the LORD.

And that’s the first encouragement: the LORD (in capitals) is the Bible’s name for the personal and consistent promise-keeping God who Moses met in the burning bush.

We can praise the LORD because in these strange times, he remains consistent.

What’s more, these Psalms keep pointing us to the LORD being our Maker and our Redeemer.

What kind of Maker?

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – he remains faithful for ever.” (Psalm 146:6).

“Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5).

“The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm 145:9).

What kind of Maker? Faithful. Understanding. Compassionate.

And what kind of Redeemer?

“The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:14).

“The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:11). “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3).

What kind of Redeemer? Healing. Holding. Unfailingly loving.

And it’s that unfailing love that our LORD actually demonstrated that first Good Friday. As Jesus loved us to the end – to his end – on the cross.

We can praise God today because of who he is and what he’s done. While everything around us has changed, nothing about Him has changed.

We can praise him. And we need to praise him for our own good.

Why not use Psalms 145-150, one each day, to do just that this week?

Love in Christ,

Tim Partridge – Curate

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