When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Mark 11:7b-10
It’s so easy to be a fair weather worshiper. Just like these people at the triumphal entry, when things are going well, we’ll happily give glory to God.
But of course, very soon after this, these same people did an about face and shouted for Jesus to be crucified.
When things aren’t going as expected, how quickly we turn.
I’ve realized something lately. God is most truly glorified when He is praised in the midst of life’s trials.
I feel like it’s the same principle as goodness. How can someone be “good” unless they have a choice? True goodness is displayed when, although they could do bad, they CHOOSE to do good.
In the same way, how is it impressive to praise God when things are going well? At least we aren’t taking credit for the good things, but giving it to God. And we should thank Him for the good things. But when we declare that God is real and good in our darkest times, THAT has impact.
Nothing illustrates this better than the story of Job. Satan accuses Job before God of being a fair weather worshiper, snidely suggesting, “But now stretch out your hand and strike everything (Job) has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job 1:11
And so God gives Satan permission, and Job loses everything he has. But when this happens, Job doesn’t curse God, he says, “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21)
This is so powerful!
In the end, God indignantly demands, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Job 38:2.
And Job replies, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Job 42:3
The wonderfulness of God surpasses everything. It trumps all our ills and complaints. No matter what, He is still the I AM, the ALPHA and OMEGA, the CREATOR of the vast universe.
He is always, in every circumstance, to be praised.
The Bible is full of examples of people who bring true glory to God, who worship him in the valley — like Abraham, Joseph, Joshua and Daniel. And how about Paul, who sung while in chains, and said while in prison, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4)
So now, while I see ebbing in the church, while I decline with age, while I see things go wrong around me, I PRAISE the Lord with everything in me!
It is but what I am created to do. It is what He is due. It unequivocally declares to the world the He is real and He is good.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.