«You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel» (Psalm 22:3).
FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY, the great Russian writer and one of the greatest exponents of universal literature, expressed in his works the most relevant aspects of human experience, including spirituality. When he was condemned to death for participating in activities that were considered anti governmental, he was led to the courtyard for his execution by firing squad and with his eyes bound he had to listen to the shots fired against other prisoners. However, in the end his sentence was commuted at the last moment to five years of forced labor in Siberia. From there, in prison, he wrote: «You have to believe up to the end, even if everyone changes course and you are the only one who continues to be faithful; even then bring your offering and praise God in your loneliness.»
«Praise God in your loneliness»; what an impressive concept! —because praise produces permanent joy and full confidence in the power of God; because praise is the only tool capable of healing your wounds, your frustrations, your anger and bitterness. Do you know why praise is able to bring relief, victory, health, and happiness? Because God Himself dwells in the midst of praise, as our verse today says: «You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel» (Psalm 22B).
Praise is a sublime element for God, our Creator. Praise will be eternal; it will have no end. We will all bless His holy name eternally (see Psalm 145:21). «‘And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the Lord» (Isaiah 66:23).
First Peter 1:7 recommends that when we are going through the furnace of trials, it is better for us to be found in praise to our God. Why, then, do we insist on feeling resentful when we should be praising the Lord? Why do we resist the present instead of worshiping the God of the present? Why is it that we allow ourselves to be hurt by fear instead of accepting the balm of praise? Raise your voice in adoration and praise; proclaim that you have a living God in who your trust.
Begin this day with a new praise in your heart; fill it with gratitude for all the good and also for the bad. A thankful heart is a place where God delights to dwell, so bring your offering and praise God in your loneliness.