Hebrews 13:15 – Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (NKJV)
I have always been the type to worship and speak to God through music. Both in times of happiness and stress, I find myself singing snippets from songs to help give praise and thanks to the Lord. It's rarely a complete song — just a verse, a bridge, or a chorus — and sometimes it's even just a single line repeated over and over that will that speak to me and help calm me in that moment, or be exactly the thought I'm trying to convey to God. I have often found that praising God in a difficult time is a "sacrifice of praise" that releases His power to intervene miraculously.
In November 2009, we were coming from Circleville, Ohio, USA, to our home in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, following a weekend at "Torch" — a prison ministry for incarcerated youth. Everything seemed fine, even though there was some snow, but it was quite passable until we got near Erie, Pennsylvania. All of a sudden, a lake-effect storm hit, and we couldn't see. It was late at night, we had no idea where the road went, and there were very few street lights. When we came to an exit, there'd be a little light, but it would come up so suddenly that by the time we realized where we were, we still couldn't get off the freeway. There was very little traffic. Perhaps the cars were there and we couldn't see them, or perhaps many had already managed to find their way and get off the road safely. Each moment, we didn't know if we would hit someone, if someone would hit us, or if we'd fall off the road.
Then I remembered the words to "Praise You in This Storm":
- And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And ev'ry tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm.
- – Bernie Herms and Mark Hall ©2005 Word Music
We had no cellphone, and terrified, we prayed, "God, please get us out of this. We have no idea where we are. Help us, please!" I began to sing the song over and over again. Not thirty seconds later, a large truck came out of nowhere, up an on ramp, and got in front of us. We felt this driver had been sent for us, and we faithfully followed our "guardian angel" for almost a hundred kilometres, out of the blinding snow, through some snow squalls, and safely up to our exit at Buffalo, where he went merrily on his way. Probably, he had no idea that he was an answer to prayer, but we know that God sent him to help us, and we were happy to follow him. Once we had crossed the border, the snow stopped, and we arrived home, continuing to give praise to God for His help. It was an amazing weekend — first the success of the prison weekend, and then a miraculous answer to prayer. God is good.
All of us go through sudden storms in our lives: illness, misdirection, loss of employment, or the loss of someone special — and we become confused, disoriented, and scared. But God is always there and knows where we are. God always knows what we need. God always knows the best path for us to take. We have been blessed with a God who loves us and wants to help us. We need only to confess that we can't do it alone, and call out or sing out and ask for help. Then we have to follow faithfully where God is leading.
Psalm 121:1-2,8 – I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore. (NIV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for providing music to help us worship you and give You praise, especially when words fail us. Thank You for always being there for us, and providing help when we are confused and don't know which way to turn. Help us to remember that we should always look to You and ask for Your guidance, and You will direct our path. We give You thanks and praise in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.