I’ve been pounding on my piano keys a lot lately. Yes, pounding them hard, wrestling with sadness and questions and frustration. Creating beautiful music isn’t my goal. His glory is the goal and praising Him in the middle of pain is my desire. I’m compelled to turn my worry into worship even when the enemy is trying to chase me down, but it’s coming at a cost.
O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!
Psalm 71:12 (KJV)
When words fail me, when I have no immediate answer for our son’s devastating call, I raise my hands to the heavens and cry, “Why? Why, Lord? It’s just not fair . . . Please be near me, Lord.” With moments of kicking and screaming, I go to Him a bit like a little child. I know He wants what’s best for me, for my son, but the unfolding of that story isn’t known yet. And right now, in the midst of it, His story isn’t the one I’d choose, so those out-of-tune ivories have been getting a much needed workout.
Pound. Praise. Pound.
I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.
Psalm 6:6 (ESV)
When Jesus declared, “Let the little children come to me,” He didn’t put any caveats on that statement. He didn’t demand that only the well-behaved children come. He didn’t ask the disciples to bring the little children who would sit quietly by His side and never ask questions, nor do I assume it was the calm, tranquil environment of which children’s’ picture books paint that scene.
No, Jesus welcomed all children to come to him, so I’m fairly certain that included the messy, crying, loud ones too. But one thing I assume is that they came with ALL. THE. QUESTIONS. Envision it: “Why, Jesus? Why? Why?” Since we are His children, His most beloved daughters, He welcomes our questions and our cries because the answers are laid out for us. His Word does not return void.
Pound. Cry. Pound. Praise.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God — who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly —
and it will be given to him.
James 1:5 (CSB)
I choose to usher my heart of sadness into song because over four hundred times, Scripture references us to sing. Fifty of those times, God assigns direct commands to sing, so I pound those keys through my frustrations and sing the truth found in Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs until they’ve pointed me to His faithfulness.
Why else do I sing and pound and lift His name up high?
I sing Scripture to impart solid theology to memory, but I also sing Scripture because songs of lament pierce my soul and allow the Holy Spirit to move my heart into a deeper connection of reverence and repentance before Him.
I sing songs of thanksgiving, not only because it’s commanded but also because I sing in response to His rescue and redemption of my life. He saved me from my sin, so how can I not sing?
Miriam, a woman, was the very first worship leader in Scripture. In Exodus 15, after the Israelites witnessed God’s power to miraculously destroy their enemies and deliver them from bondage, she picked up a tambourine and led with her song, testifying in gratitude His power to save. As we’re rescued from bondage, our souls ignite with a response of gratitude like Miriam’s. The Lord is worthy of our trust, so how can we not praise?
Sing to the Lord, for he is highlight exalted.
Exodus 15:21 (NIV)
Praise. Pound. Praise.
I sing of His love because when life doesn’t make sense, He does. I sing of His faithfulness because when Satan tries to tell me otherwise, God’s goodness is still worthy of our praise.
I fight to praise in the middle of my pain because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Praise. Praise. Raise a hallelujah.
So, let’s turn on our favorite worship song. Sing loudly. Raise your hands to the heaven and dance in the kitchen. Boldly declare the truth in times of trial because when we sing His name, darkness flees.
This is my declaration today:
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!
I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee
I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery
I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!
Raise a Hallelujah (Bethel Music)
Won’t you come pound some praises with me? How can I lift you up?
Boldly declare the truth in times of trial because when we sing His name, darkness flees. -Jen Schmidt (@beautyandbedlam): Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Dawn Ferguson-Litrle says
Remember God is near. We are too keep praising him no matter what. As Psalm 126 verse 3 says The Lord has haa done great things for us and we are glad. We are to be glad no matter what we go through no matter what our families go through. Know God is with us and that he is by our side and that he will never leave us or for sake us. He will help us get through what ever hard thing we are going through plus help our family member get through it. Plus I have no kids but this scripture is for you Jennifer Psalm 127 verse3 Behold children are a heritage from the Lord The fruit of the womb is a reward like arrows in the hand of a warrior So are the Children of one youth. So that means keep Raise a Hallelujahs to God above. He will take you through it all. Keep looking up to God his word and the promises in it. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little
Exactly, which is why we keep focusing on praise through it all. 🙂 Blessings to you today, sweet Dawn.
Bernice Bowers says
Our middle son died this past January. We prayed that he be freed from his addiction. He was saved when he was younger. God freed him. Next week would be his 25th bday. We pray for the “praising Him in this storm” to carry us through.
Michele Morin says
Oh, Bernice, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for taking grace to see that there is freedom even in this huge loss.
Linda Wilson says
So very sorry for your loss Grace. Keep in praising God as I’m sure your life is a huge testimony to those who are watching you!
Jen Schmidt says
Oh precious, Bernice. I have no words because they would all feel inept at granting comfort, which is why I turn to scripture and prayer over and over, often with groans because He is the only one who can truly understand and fill that hole.
Praying for you that He would do miraculously more in your spirit than we could ever imagine.
Emily B. says
Thank you SO much, Jen! This was beautiful and really good for me to hear this morning.
Pat Cobb says
Thank you for this devotional!!! I have a good friend actually several good friends going thru difficult times… “why me Lord?” So I plan to share this with them !!! Praise be to God our Father in Heaven and His son, our Savior, Jesus Christ!!! Y’all
~ Pat C
Thank you for being the friend that they need for this season.
Thank you for these powerful truths!❤️ Exactly what I needed to hear this morning
Kimberly Coney says
Good morning: Even before I started reading this devotion, I stopped, turned on my music to this song. I suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD and Bipolar Disorder because of my events in the military. Medication helps, but I do find that singing and praising helps me. My counselor has taught me to turn on my favorite song, focus on the part of my body that is most tense. I sit and I begin to tap my legs with my hands, with my eyes open while singing the song and every 5-10 seconds I blink 3 times. I do this throughout the whole song. I find I do this even when I don’t feel anxiety. I do it to relax a little. It calms me. I know that the Lord has my back. Knowing that I am praising Him through this storm is all I need to survive. I have a wonderful counselor who is helping me, but my church and my Savior Jesus Christ are the ultimate gift. Thank you for these devotions. I love my Incourage Bible. Hugs and Blessings
Oh Kimberly –
First, thank you so much for your service. I know it came as a huge price and sacrifice but we are so grateful for you.
Sounds like your counselor is giving excellent advice, but yes, He is the ultimate comforter and claiming His truth, alongside expert advise, is how we fight this battle.
Susan Long me says
Thanks, Jen. I needed this word this morning.
You are so welcome, sweet Susan.
So absolutely perfect for me this morning! I don’t play piano, but I’m pedaling away on my exercise bike and singing with you! I desperately needed to be reminded of the truth. Thank you!!
I too am in the middle of a storm. And the enemy came knocking at my head to get to my heart around 3am, every night. I began playing worship music in our house throughout the day and at night I pray The Holy Spirit fills my head and my heart with praise. I now wake up each morning with a praise song, “Lord I need you, Oh I need you. Every hour I need you. My One Defense, My Righteousness, Oh Lord how I need you”. It is my daily mantra, always on my lips. I truly have been saved from the enemy’s grasp and I am able to be at peace, a peace like no other, as I walk boldly through this Storm. “I Raise a Hallelujah” is one of my favorite songs also during this time. Instead of playing it off my ITunes I’m going to begin playing it on our dusty piano. Thank you for the reminder! He is there for us in the middle of the storm! Hallelujah!
Mary E says
Thank you! Just reading the title livened up my step this morning. I had an exhausting day yesterday and needed the reminder to pick me up. I have found myself singing that song as I walk the dog when things are pressing on me.
Oh, my, Jen.. I know where you are coming from as my 17 year old grandson tried to commit suicide. Although he was in the hospital for one week, I do not believe he is getting the help he needs so I am also pounding away. Please pray for Matthew.. May God answer our prayers soon!
I am RAISING A HALLELUJAH!
In my own Battle Season! This song is My Battle song! My Banner is Raised- It says
JESUS JESUS JESUS
Their is POWER in the Name of JESUS!!!!
The Enemy is Vicious!
JESUS IS VICTORIOUS!
HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD!
I RAISE A HALLELUJAH IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES.
HEAVEN COMES TI FIGHT FIR ALL OF US
Beth Williams says
Praying for you & your family. God will answer our prayers in His perfect timing. May you all have peace as you praise God in the midst of this storm.
The second time I had to put my aging dad into geriatric psych unit I couldn’t take it again. The next day (my & hubby’s bday) I found Stephen C. Chapman on you tube. I sang, danced & praised God in my kitchen. I knew not matter the outcome “it is well with my soul”. God was going to cure my dad one way or another. I sand my praises to Him. Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.”
I sit in my living room with questions. Why must my elderly neighbor lose her husband, two children & be left alone except for a good friend of her son’s? Why so much cancer? Why all this suffering & pain. We live in a fallen world. One thing we do know is that God is good ALL the time. Like Job we will continually praise Him for His greatness.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Please also listen to this song by Don Moen for all you lovely people who are going through something and you think why? plus think there is no way out. Listen to this song on YouTube It is “God will make a way where there sands no way” Yes God will May A Way. Keep looking up and trusting him. His word the Bible the promises in it and Prayers. Don’t let the Old Devil have the last laugh. Xxx
THANK you for this much needed devo as we need to have a huge prayer chain in this fallen society for the young generation since we CANNOT change them; only God can change them when they are ready to have a relationship with the LORD and understand it is with God’s timing that things and time will heal.
Again, thank you!
Dee Wayne says
Everybody is giving praises. I am having a difficult time at the moment. Satan was in my head last weekend real bad with all the negative thoughts about myself. I can not say that I know the pain of losing a child and I am sorry you have to go through that. My pain comes from losing 2 husbands. All I ever really wanted to be in life was a wife and mother. Yes, I do have two children that now live in another state and three grandchildren with them. I lost my second husband 7 years ago and my first one 5 years before that. So my question is the same, “Why Lord did I have to lose not one but two husbands?” “Why do I have to take care of me by myself?” I never thought I would want to marry after losing the second one but now after 7 years I am lonely and would so much to be loved to be cared for by another soul. Yes, I know God is supposed to be enough, but when everyone around you has a spouse they really don’t get it. Yes, I do love God and Jesus, but I still wish I knew why. Why me? I am usually strong enough to battle this but I am losing strength. Lord help me please.
Dear Dee, Consider Him. Christ Jesus knows loss like we can’t imagine, and He deserved none of it… while we deserve none of His gifts. But He cares about our sorrows, and cares special for widows! His tender heart understands and He has good plans for you. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works! He is nigh unto the broken hearted. He is with you in your grief, in your loneliness, and He invites you to just come to Him. Spill it all on His shoulder, and ask Him to speak to you; open His word and He will! He ALWAYS meets those who seek Him!! Ask Him to show you the thousand ways He blesses you each day, and the journey will not be dark any more… He is worthy of praise if we’ll only see Who He is.
I’m nearing 30 and still single, while most of my friends have married and been blessed with sweet families… I know a little of the loneliness. Sometimes I can’t see Jesus’ love for my desire for human love, but He is so patient with me! What greater love can I ask for than the love of One Who laid down His life – not for His friends, but for His enemies! For me.
I’m finding loneliness to be God calling me to a closer relationship with Him; perhaps I would never see Who He is any other way. He IS love! And when I look to Him – His love lights the way.
The LORD God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Looking to Him the shadows fall behind!
With you on the journey.
Hannah – thank you for sharing so transparently for all of us to glean His wisdom through your understanding.
Oh Dee –
HE welcomes your questions and your loneliness. I don’t have the words to adequately be able to fill that void, but in His sovereignty He does. Often, we don’t know the answers this side of eternity. My brother lost his bride at 34. We asked all those same questions that you are along with , Why Lord lead his three babies motherless? I still don’t know the answers but I do know our God is the same, yesterday, and today and nothing passes through His fingers tips without greater purpose but I strongly encourage you to reach out to a group of others that can walk alongside you through this season. We were created for community and not to do this alone. Satan wants nothing more than to isolate you in this time and he will attack when we don’t have the strength to battle. Do you have a local church or support group you can reach out to ? Praying for you from my corner of NC.
Jennifer Stone says
One of my new favorite songs…so great to read your devotion today, Jen! Thank you for continuing to point us to the truth in the midst of this difficult season, modeling praise. Miss and love you and your family. Hugs from AZ!
Christie Gowon-Afolahan says
Wow! I know people go through alot, but here I was thinking it was just me. I was reading Job 1:20 and asked myself would I have been in mourning yet worship/Hallelujah, or asking God why? I’d appreciate your prayers as I raise a Hallelujah through my storm. I’m glad I read this.
Catherine Robertson says
Thank you for this devotional today. I lost my 40 y/o son to cancer last year. He left a widow and two biological daughters 10 and 8 along with his adopted 2 year old son. He loved Jesus and his family. For this, I am so very thankful, but I have struggled with unanswered prayers to spare him. I know all the right cliches. He is in a better place, etc., etc. But why God? He loved you. He was such a light pointing to you. He led so many to you.
These tormenting questions get in the way of my praise and truth be told, my prayers, my relationship with God feels so fractured. I was so so so close in my walk before this trial and journey of grief. I am forcing myself to listen to praise songs but I want deeply to have the relationship with God back.
Catherine, I am so very sorry for your loss. I have found that our God is not always a God of the hard and fast answers that I crave. In fact, I find He rarely is, and rarely supplies the tidy cause-and-effect answers I want. His ways are beyond tracing out, as Paul says in Romans 11. And that is really hard. Yet, over time, He leads me to totally unexpected answers, often to questions I didn’t even know I was asking! He is so good. I believe He will provide healing answers and experiences for you over the course of time, even though you may never get a concrete “why” this side of heaven. I am praying for you to find rest in hopeful expectation of how He will heal even as you mourn and lament.
Ann O'Malley says
This post is a great illustration of Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” During my first depressive episode, the middle part of this verse (pour out your hearts to him) became very special to me. For several months I’d been stuffing all my feelings inside, afraid of admitting them to God, afraid He would judge and condemn me if I did. But reading this psalm one day freed me to pour it all out.
More recently, I read the middle phrase in the context of the whole verse. Sometimes evangelical Christians give the impression that if we’re pouring out our hearts in pain, we’re not really trusting God. But we’re told to both trust in Him and pour out our hearts to Him. In the same verse. Maybe they’re not just compatible with each other; maybe they must go together.
We won’t open up in complete honesty with God unless there is great trust (faith) in Him. On the other hand, our trust in Him grows as we express our emotions more honestly and openly. There can be no intimacy with God unless there is both trusting and pouring out our hearts. And when we do both, we experience the truth of the last part of the verse—God is our refuge. We see more clearly how He protects and nourishes us. (Adapted from my blog at https://thosewhoweep.blogspot.com/2018/10/pour-out-your-hearts.html.)
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing so openly and honestly, both your pain and your praise.