The donations weren’t quite what you hoped for. Two of your staff members are at odds with each other. Another client chose abortion.
On top of that, you got a threatening email from an extremist pro-abortion group.
It’s challenging, isn’t it? The weight of responsibility of the life-affirming mission, the tough situations our clients face, the opposition that rears its ugly head against us.
Like Christians throughout the ages, believers in pro-life ministry today face troubles both outside and inside our doors—and in our own hearts.
The Apostle Paul described the emotions his team experienced this way, “…we had no rest. Instead, we were troubled in every way: conflicts on the outside, fears within.” – 2 Corinthians 7:5.
Here’s how I put it in Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion.
“Troubles within and troubles without. We are fragile human vessels. Our emotions go up and down; our capacity to care is stretched to the limit. This isn’t work that can be accomplished in our own strength.”
So how do we face the ongoing pressures and challenges? How can we be wholehearted ministers, yet also lighthearted and full of faith?
I believe one key element—one we can easily forget when overwhelmed with problems—is praise.
Praising God lifts our attention away from worry, anxiety, and the attempt to control. It shifts our thoughts away from fruitless questions we tend to ask, such as “What if…?” or “How am I going to…?”
Praise reminds us of how big God is—and therefore, our limitations are irrelevant.
Praise in the midst of our trials brings about wonderful results—but it is often difficult and counterintuitive.
That’s why the Bible refers to the “sacrifice of praise.” God understands that it can be hard for us to offer Him what He deserves when we are going through it.
Tweet This: Like Christians throughout the ages believers in pro-life ministry today face troubles both outside & inside our doors—and in our own hearts
The Psalmist writes,
“I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, LORD, for it is good.”
The writer of Hebrews declares,
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” -Hebrews 13:15
One thing that can hinder us from offering thanks and praise to God is a misunderstanding about what is required.
Some folks are of the mind that Christians should thank God for all things—but the Bible says something different.
Paul writes to the Thessalonians,
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thess. 5:16-18.
We aren’t instructed to thank God for all things, but in all things.
When you face tough times in your ministry, you don’t have to thank God for the hard stuff—but you can thank Him in the middle of it, knowing He will use it all for His purposes in your life.
Tweet This: When facing tough times in ministry you don’t have to thank God for the hard stuff — but you can thank Him knowing He will use it
You can trust Him to make beauty of ashes. You can trust Him to shepherd you through the dark valley. And you can trust Him to shape your character more and more into the image of Jesus.
The reason God appreciates praise is that it is an act of faith, and faith is what pleases Him (Heb.11:6).
Praise says, “God, I believe You. I trust You. I honor You above my fears.”
Praise restores perspective.
Worry and fear cause us to see our problems as huge and insurmountable. Praise, on the other hand, reminds us how infinitely capable God is and how tiny our troubles are compared to His ability to take care of them.
Perhaps you remember an experience when you made the choice to praise despite your circumstances and/or feelings.
The longer you focused on the greatness and goodness of God, the smaller your problems shrank until your heart was light with joy and relief.
That’s the power of praise.
And God has made it easy for us—just in case we have a hard time finding the words, He has supplied them.
Here is a sampling from Psalm 103 to get you started:
“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle…The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love… As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” –Psalm 103:1-5, 8, 13.
Let’s exalt the Lord instead of fretting. Let’s offer a sacrifice of praise and give thanks to God in all things.
In doing so, we’ll give Him the response He deserves—and we’ll regain a healthy perspective for life and ministry.