By Chris Hong
"And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God." (Luke 24:52,53)
Jesus has risen from the dead, appearing to his disciples, and then He ascends into heaven. What a joyous sight indeed! It was only a short while ago that hopelessness, despair and defeat had been on the minds of the disciples, but now they are witnessing hope, joy, and victory instead. How could they not worship Him and praise God for what they had observed?
Like those early Christians, I think we experience something like that (on a much less grand scale) each year when we celebrate Easter. I was marveling at how wonderful forgiven sin and right standing before God are! The worries of life that had been burdening me paled in comparison to this display of God’s goodness and faithfulness through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. How could I not give Him praise for who He is and what He has done?
But then comes Monday, then Tuesday, and then more days. “Normal life” sets back in. The victory of the cross and the empty tomb haven’t changed, but I’m once again faced with difficult relational strains, finding myself working to the bone, or just dealing with life. I don’t feel as victorious as I did during Easter worship service, and am not sure how to praise God in the midst of these things. Or maybe life is going so well that God is not at the forefront of my thinking, and I’m enjoying the blessings of friends, family, and material goods more so than the Blesser. What do I do when I forget about God or He doesn’t seem relevant?
No matter how we feel at this particular moment, God is always praiseworthy. Through tough times we know that God is near (Psalm 34:18), someone we can call upon in our time of need (2 Samuel 22:4), and where our help comes from (Psalm 121:2). When times are good let us recall all that He has done for us (Psalm 103:25), that He alone is the provider of all things (Job 1:21), and that God will continue to grow our faith because He granted it (Philippians 1:6). And there is so much more truth about Him than can fit in this space, but can be found in His Word!
Wherever we are, regardless of what is happening in life or how we are feeling, may our heart’s cry be to praise and bless God with great joy, remembering who He is, and all He has done.