I have a story today for all those dealing with problems or heartaches. Basically, this story is for all of us.
Mr. Davidson, a farmer, lived with his wife and young daughter on their farm in the country. Davidson was a Christian man, but not a very happy one. Things just weren't going well for him.
At first he lived a happy farm life, for he prayed to God for good weather, good crops, and a good return on his farming investments. God answered his prayers and he prospered.
Later, things were not so bright. The weather turned bad for a couple years, the crops failed, the cattle caught disease, and he himself fell ill and couldn't work as hard.
Though his health improved over time, with his livelihood in jeopardy, despair set in, as the farmer contemplated what he should do to support his small family. There was so much work to do to restore the farm, that he wondered if it wouldn't be better to leave it and start over.
Finally one day, all hope dead in his heart, he put his farm up for sale.
This same day his young daughter, unaware of the trouble, happily played with her lettered blocks. Seeing her Daddy come into the room, she called him over to play with her.
"Make me a word, Daddy."
He hesitated and then spelled out D E S P A I R, which most described his state of mind, as he worried over supporting his sweet little girl.
"Is it a word?" inquired his daughter.
"Yes, it says despair."
"What does that mean?" she wondered.
"It means all hope is lost."
His daughter continued to arrange her blocks and then called to him again.
"Daddy, now what does it say?"
P R E S A I D
"It isn't a word" he answered.
But he saw that if he rearranged it a bit, he could make a real word.
P R A I S E D
"What does it say now?" she wanted to know.
"It says praised."
When the little girl asked what it meant, he began to explain. Then suddenly he realized that this was the one thing which he himself had not done. He had planned, he had worked, he had discussed, he had even prayed, but he had never praised. It is very hard to praise when everything seems to be going wrong.
"That is a wonderful change we made", he finally said to his daughter. "We changed despair into praised."
"Yes, and without a single block more", his daughter noticed.
So it was that Mr. Davidson began to see how the Lord had really answered his prayers. He was not answering by taking away his problems, but by helping him to face them in another way. Mr. Davidson had never been able to praise God while his heart filled with despair. But now he determined to hope in God and to praise Him even though he still had his problems.
He again read the Bible and even memorized verses that tell of giving praise to the Lord.
When things improved, and proofs of answered prayer were clear for all to see, Mr. and Mrs. Davidson still praised God for His wonderful goodness in the times of sadness and despair. For it was in these times they had learned that God is worthy of real praise regardless of any circumstances. They had conquered despair with praise. They had proven the truth of the Scripture that says:
Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
I adapted this story from a chapter of Another Hive of Bees. (Christian character book for children.)
I personally still have most of the same problems I had last year. My son still leans on his OCD rituals and takes hours to complete a small amount of school. My daughter hides under covers in her bedroom when the skies darken. She despairs in her young mind about the (possibly) impending thunder, lightning and sure doom (in her mind anyway, sure doom). My youngest daughter's arthritis still wakens her with pain some nights. Appliances and other things keep breaking, while monthly income doesn't keep up.
If I despair, everything snowballs, but then pretty quickly I'm reminded I don't need my problems erased. We're passing through this broken place for a short time, and then we're free of the sin curse. We enjoy full healing in heaven.
The healing and rewards come later, the obedience and grace occur now.
Change despair into PRAISE for the glory of God.
Verses of praise:
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! ...
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. ...
Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!
Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. ...
Psalm 146:1-2Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
1 Chronicles 16:29Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
Psalm 62:1-12To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. ...