THE WORD: An unconditional relationship

PHOTO CAPTION: “Sorrow” by Paul Cézanne (circa 1868), also known as “The Magdalen” depicts a penitent Mary Magdalene and is in the collection of the Musee d’Orsay, Paris. (Public Domain) 

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1 

It is not hard to praise the Lord at some times. There are days when all is bright. There is no sickness in our house. No recent sorrow has left our heart sad. It is easy then, to praise the Lord. 

But there are other times when things are different. Business is not prosperous — or health is broken. We begin to say this verse — but we cannot get through it: “I will praise the Lord at ….” 

We cannot bless the Lord for the broken health — or for the empty chair. Yet there the words stand. We cannot make them read: “I will praise the Lord at some times; His praise will be on my lips on certain days — days when the sun shines.” 

It is not our business to re-write Bible verses — but it is our business rather to bring our lives up to the standard of the inspired words. So we must learn to say the verse just as it is written. 

We must learn to bless the Lord on the dark days — as well as the bright days. 

We must learn to praise God in pain — as well as in pleasure. 

Have we learned this lesson?  

J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.