Are You Praising Him?

I’m that type of Christian that asks questions that are useful but arguably ill-timed (and off putting). I’m learning that I get this from my mother.

My mother is a dear woman. I see a great deal of her in myself, and I am grateful for it. A certain forwardness about faith is one things we share. My mom is ever-willing to put God into the conversation, whether speaking about church or finances or whatever else. She sees God in things and wants to give him attention.  She share these views with others unabashedly, hoping they might seem him as well. I love this about her, and I tend to be the same way.

But most people (myself included) don’t always want God acknowledged, not only in general conversation but especially when we are in a foul mood or ill temper. We don’t want to be reminded of God when we are wallowing in our failure, not getting the results we want, or receiving our just desserts for our waywardness.

Of course, people like my mom always insert him into these very moments. It’s a way of recalibrating the view of the hearer to acknowledge God as Lord of all–even when we’re unhappy with him.

I write this after a weekend of being bed-ridden with a flu-like cold, having chased sleep from Thursday through much of Saturday, only to come downstairs on Sunday morning to my mother’s asking, “How are you doing?”
To which I replied, “I’m just praying for sleep.”
“But are you giving God praise?” She asked. “Are you praising him? Are you praising him in your sickness?”

Of course I wasn’t. If anything I was feeling sorry for myself and angry at him for my weekend’s ruin at the hand of this virus. And make no mistake, I was being a complete jerk about it. I was thinking, “why couldn’t this have happened during the workweek, when I could’ve called out sick?” Yes, I am not proud of it, but I thought it. I had grand plans for the weekend. I was going to spend a wonderful vacation day on Friday with my beautiful wife; I was going to get ahead of my current extra-vocational workload. I was going to rest how and when I wanted.

But my body just crashed. I had the type of headcold that feels like your brain is pulsing against your skull while every ounce of fluid you have in your body is flowing out your face, and just when you begin to settle into sleep, you sneeze or cough or hack or just plain twitch. It’s first-world problems, for certain. And I was a baby about it–a “brat” even.

And I am grateful that my mother spoke truth when and how she did. It’s hard to rally against God for your weekend’s discomfort when you’ve failed to praise him for the health he has given you to not only fight your present illness but enjoy countless other weekends as well.

Yeah, I didn’t want her to ask me what she did. I didn’t expect it, and it haunted me. But some haunting thoughts are not ghouls tormenting you; rather they are the whisper of the Spirit, calling you back to the heart of Christ, the heart that says, “not my will but yours be done.”

I’d be lying if I said I am glad I got sick, but I am glad for the little lesson that accompanied it. Here’s to remembering it next time I’m stripped of the full health I take for granted, so that rather than wallowing in frustration, I can praise him–and endure that interrupted sleep and those sinus headaches to his glory (rather than my shame), however that looks.

Only time will tell, but I do hope it’s some time from now.

Thanks for reading,