No one likes suffering. I hate it. And yet I know that in suffering I have learned love and compassion to a greater degree than in any other way.
It is so easy and automatic to pray selfish prayers. It is so easy to assume our agenda is God’s agenda.
I grew up in a church where churchy phrases were tossed around rather cheaply. One that I heard enough but never connected to was the “sacrifice of praise.”
Sacrifice sounds pretty much terrible any time. Marry that to praise, which is a selfless act of declaring someone else is amazing and not ourselves, and you get a pretty bizarre cocktail.
Bill Johnson finally spelled it out for me in a way I could understand. God has no actual needs, and everything I own already belonged to Him first. So what do you give the One who already has everything?
Praise, when it costs you. Have you ever been in a situation where things looked really bad, and you decided to vocally celebrate and praise God even though you saw no solution?
To anyone else, you’d look like a fool. People suffering alongside you will resent you. They will mock what they can only assume is either foolishness or madness.
You will be alone. You will not come out of it unscathed. And in this sacrifice of your dignity and reputation, you will have laid before His feet the only precious gift you really have to offer. And it will be a sweet smelling perfume to Him.