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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Barry Stagner: Praise From the Valley of Despair

It is amazing how the Word of God consistently interjects hope in much-needed places. Paul had been relaying to the Corinthians that he was hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; and delivered to death for Jesus’ name’s sake.

2 Corinthians 4:15 KJV – “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

It might seem odd to insert the verse above in the middle of talk about persecution and martyrdom, but I believe Paul was reminding the Corinthians and all who would read this to not lose sight of all the things God has done for us. His grace should always cause a spirit of thanksgiving to well up within us.

Have you ever seen a person worship and praise God in the midst of a trauma or tragedy, even the death of a loved one? I remember a few instances like this in my life, and the grace God bestowed on those in deep and dark trials caused thanksgiving to abound in me to the glory of God.

Praise from the valley of despair is powerful. It brings a legitimacy to the transforming presence of the Spirit of God like little else in life. I find it quite easy to praise God when it’s all good, as I am sure you do as well. But my heart is moved, even to this day, when I remember praise issuing forth from someone hard pressed on every side, someone perplexed and persecuted, or someone in the valley of the shadow of death. In those times, God’s grace in someone else was so undeniable that I experienced His grace in a deeper way in my own life.

If things are great today, praise the Lord. If things are not so great, praise the Lord. Regardless of the circumstances, offer praise simply because He alone is worthy. And this kind of praise, from the depths of life’s traumas and tragedies, can bring change to others that lasts a lifetime. I know, because it happened to me!

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