A Vow To Praise

by Stephanie Winslow , Christian Examiner Contributor |

In my days as a campus minister with the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), I learned of God's great timeline through looking at the Bible presented in chronological form. That season of learning may have been a "few"years ago, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. But recently, my heart has been rekindling a yearning to walk through the Bible again and to relive the stories in the order of their happening. Since the New Year I have been reading through a chronological Bible.

My main aim with this reading is to be drawn into a deeper relationship with Christ because I can see Him in every story and on every page, even in the Old Testament. Most recently, I have been reading in Job—one of the most difficult stories in the Bible to unpack, and yet, that hits so close to home.

Not one of us goes through this life tragedy free—it is simply a part of the human condition, as a result of sin and the fall. Job defines for us the "how." He demonstrates how we could walk through the tragedy. Job, a righteous man, fit perfectly into today's common question of, "why do bad things happen to good people?" What we find out through Job's story is that the "why" doesn't really matter, but the "how" he lived, what he said, what he thought during each and every battle, each and every pain, each and every heartache, is what mattered.

His response to his horrific circumstances point our eyes not to the "why," but to the "how." Job questioned. Job cried. Job prayed for relief. Throughout all of the turmoil, loss, depravity, sickness and pain, when every friend had left his side, Job praised God anyway.

Job's "HOW" was "PRAISE"

"He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He makes the stars: the Bear, Orion, the Pleiades, and the constellations of the southern sky. He does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number." (Job 9:8-10 HCSB)

Reading the story of Job presented an opportunity for me to consider my own life, and the trials I have been through. This story put into perspective the irritations I vent about, the minor deviations from my plans I roll my eyes at, and the lack of praise that has been on my lips when I encounter even the smallest set back. I blame God instead of praising him.

No one wants a life of tragedy and pain. No one longs to have loved and lost. But it happens. Tragedy happens. Heartache happens. In response, it is up to us to determine the "how." How will we react when trials come? In blame or in praise?

No matter what happens, as believers, the ball is in our court to determine what kind of attitude we will have. Will we choose to reflect a spirit of displeasure, or will we choose to reflect the nature of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

If you tend to struggle in this area, I invite you to join me in a vow to become more aware of our poor attitudes when things do not go according to plan, and to set our gazes not on the "why" of the situation but on our "how."

Join me in this prayer:

Father God, creator of heaven and earth, thank you today for each person who reads these words and is challenged to wrestle and consider their attitude toward their struggles. Father, I praise you because you are the only one worthy of my praise and honor. I praise you because you have formed this world with your words and created man from dust. May your praise always be on our lips, in good times and in bad. And may we choose to reflect the nature of Christ in our words and our responses. In Jesus name, Amen.

—Stephanie Winslow, author of Ascent to Hope: The Rugged Climb from Fear to Faith, writes to arm others with support and encourage Christian families struggling with addiction to let go of fear and find peace in personal relationships with Christ. Mrs. Winslow holds a MA degree in Higher Education from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH, with a degree in Spanish. She is certified as a Faith and Health Ambassador through the Faith and Health Connection. Stephanie resides in St. Louis, MO with her husband and two daughters.