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I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.

The song “Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down” by The Carpenters can become our own theme song if we aren’t careful. For some of us everyday seems to fall into the category of a rainy day or a Monday, even in the Christian walk. Why is it that the ‘rainy day’ attitude seems to follow us? There may be several reasons.

An improper view of God’s ability to handle the situation can bring in the clouds in a hurry. It’s easy, when trouble comes, to forget that God has the solution already in place. Our only ‘job’ is to seek his leading and guidance. Not easy to do when the voices of our soul scream for us to act.

We can also be so focused on the present and our own abilities that we lose sight of the bigger picture. The Father brings people and events into our lives to help us grow stronger. The abusive person is there to help us to trust God and help us grow in wisdom to know his plan. Bullies of all ages come into our lives so that we will learn to trust God to give us the wisdom on how to act.

It’s been said that ‘defense is the best offense’. In daily life that means we lash out quickly when cornered or attacked in hopes to catch the enemy off guard. In God’s Kingdom, the best defense is often to sit and wait, ponder the situation and act in a calm, decisive manner. May not work on the sporting field, but life isn’t a game.

Fear can be a great praise stealer as well. Closely tied to our failure to see God for who he is, fear turns the focus of the solution to our own abilities, and not God’s power. Our fear can be self-inflicted, such as when the natural consequences of procrastination strangle us. Our fear can paralyze us as well when we put our own fleshly desires before our relationship with Jesus and others.

So how can we ditch the ‘Rainy Day and Monday’ attitude? That old Carpenter song has the answer to that as well:

“Funny but it seems that it’s the only thing to do; Run and find the one who loves me.”

Ironically, the best way to ditch the ‘Rainy Day’ mindset is to do the very thing we are being kept from doing…PRAISE. When you are feeling blue, when life makes you afraid, confused or its pain seems too much to bear, go to the one who already has the solutions to your problem, whatever that is.

PRAYER: Father, the struggles of my life have kept me from the ultimate purpose of my life, which is praising you. Empower me to rest in your love, especially during those times when fear, worry and people and events scare me. Amen.

I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. Psalm 34:1

I received a phone call one day from the wife of a friend of mine. ‘Jerry’ had gone into the hospital the day before for tests. He was already considered disabled as a result of an illness that kept him from working. He’d lost his job, was forced to sell all of his ‘toys’ and now his wife was back in the workplace. The doctor’s report wasn’t good. It was determined that the disease had progressed to the point where he wouldn’t be able to take care of the kids while his wife was at work.

After talking with Jerry’s wife for a bit I decided to make the trip down to the hospital. On the way down I was praying for Jerry and his family, wondering what it would be like to have lost everything, thinking of how lucky I was to not be in his position. I also prayed for wisdom to be able to say the right things to lift my dear friend’s spirits during this most trying of times.

The walk down the hallway to his room was excruciating. I looked inside and saw him still connected to all sorts of tubes and wires and my heart sank. “Lord, help me know what to say,” I whispered under my breath as I entered the room.

Everything changed once Jerry I entered that hospital room…everything in my attitude that is. We sat and talked for nearly 45 minutes. During that time Jerry did most of the talking. He talked about how fortunate he was to have Jesus in his life. He talked about how wonderful his wife was. He bragged about how well his kids were doing in school. With my help he showed me a verse he’d read the day before and how it had blessed him. There was little said about the doctors, the tubes, the disease or his future. None of that mattered to Jerry. Jesus would take care of that.

I left the room wondering what had just happened! I was supposed to be the one to encourage, yet I was encouraged by the very person who should have been down. I was spoken to in a real way that day. The passage Jerry had shown me was Psalm 34. Psalm 34 was written by someone else who was in dire circumstances: King David.

When David wrote this Psalm he was running for his life from King Saul. He’d taken refuge in enemy territory and acted insane to save his life. He was humiliated, homeless; he’d been betrayed and felt completely alone. Still, in the midst of his despair he was able to praise his God.

The reason David was able to sing praises in his despair is because he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter where he was, no matter what had happened in his life, no matter what lay ahead of him, God was with him to guide, provide and protect.

What struggles are you facing today? Is your past haunting you? Have you been betrayed or rejected? Do you have health, relational or financial concerns? Remember what Jerry and David remembered. In our times of deepest need we need only look to Jesus for comfort and strength. Trusting in Jesus doesn’t take away the pain of life, but it does give us strength and wisdom to move on.

PRAYER: Holy God. I thank You for the promise that you will be with me in every situation. I praise you because you know better than anyone else my pain, sorrow, frustration and fears. I ask that you would strengthen me to move on in life. Help me to put life in perspective so that I can be an encouragement to others regardless of my own circumstances. Amen.

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