“I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.” [Psalm 86:12]
There seems to be pure joy in this verse of scripture. Learning how to praise God on a continual basis and glorify His name is a lifelong journey. Our little joys come each time we turn a new chapter of understanding with regard to this concept of praising and glorifying Him.
Living through Catastrophe
Some dear friends of mine live in Joplin, Missouri. This week their town was plowed through by a vicious tornado that left their area devastated; with more than a hundred lives lost, as well as the loss of homes, a hospital, stores, and their high school. Like so many places visited by disaster lately, many folks are left with nothing.
My friend Carmen messaged me about her family’s ordeal. It was heartbreaking to learn of the harrowing event of the storm, and the destruction it brought. She did what she ‘does’ – picking up her camera, she drove to the stake center. It was the building I had just visited almost a year ago, to speak at a youth conference. Little tidbits of the building remain. A portion of a wall, with a picture of Christ washing the feet of his disciples stands amid the rubble.
The tithing slips, standing orderly in the wall holder, offer an interesting contrast to the devastation in the rest of the building.
She shared with me her gratitude for their family’s safety, their huge gratitude and love for our Father in Heaven, and our Savior. I imagine they, like many others in tough circumstances, pray with even more focus and are working ever harder to please and serve in a Christ-like way.
Carmen found a way of glorifying God, even in a time of deep sorrow. Because of her pictures, many will find solace in remembering that our Father is watchful in our difficulties. As I pondered over those snapshots and the words exchanged through electronic means, I marveled at her courage and example. And I offered a silent prayer for all those residents, for the ones in other parts of the USA where storms are wreaking havoc; and around the world, where disasters have caused such harm.
While possessions may be lost and temporal things destroyed, the things of the Spirit cannot be taken from us. There is power in remembering the things of worth as the less important things fall away. By doing so, we find a bit of peace and, in that moment, glorify our God.
Glorifying God in Four Ways
It seems we may glorify God in four ways – Appreciation, adoration, affection, and obedience.
- Appreciation – In small ways or large, we make a better ‘us’ when we take time to express appreciation. To be grateful “is a commandment as binding upon us as any other commandment.” [President Marion G. Romney, Ensign, November,1982, p. 50] We keep ourselves pointed in a more Holy direction by expressing gratitude. As we grow older, we see more and more ‘little things’ for which to show appreciation. And the appreciation for little things grows, having gone through tremendous sorrow or loss.
- Adoration – Revering and honoring our Father and our Savior brings a particular joy to our souls. As we focus more on them, our ability to serve and show love increases. We most often show that adoration and love by serving others of His children, and sharing with them our means- whether little or abundant.
- Affection – Kindliness is a ‘feel good’ word. Appropriate affection brings joy. It ties us together, heart to heart. Warmth brings better friendships and stronger binds in families, work places, and church groups. Scientifically, it has been shown that those who have pets- and treat them with affection- live happier lives. Certainly, having lovely and affectionate feelings for other people brings more of the joy we enjoy!
- Obedience – Christ clearly taught that if we love him, we will keep his commandments. Securely tying ourselves to him through faith and hope, as well as obedience, we are sure to bring glory to God and enjoy more peace for ourselves. Often, a difficult time will snap someone ‘into shape’ spiritually. The recognition of heavenly protection – or the loss of something well prized – may point a wanderer in the strait and narrow way. Desiring to please and obey allows affection, adoration, and appreciation to seep ever more deeply into our souls.
Praising Multiplies the Joy
We don’t want to wait for a moment of devastation, or some catastrophic tragedy to befall us before we find the joy in living, right? Our happiness comes by way of recognizing and glorifying our God. It is easily done when we take time to praise Him. And it makes us feel good.
How do you show your praise? Some do it by writing or singing beautiful and reverent music. Others do so by some other artistic expression. Many watch over neighbors, serve family and friends, and magnify their callings. Always, we might share our praise in our earnest prayers.
When any honor of this world comes to us, we are best served when we recognize that the credit goes to our Father, who gave us the gifts with which to gain that honor or recognition. Doing so, we become a clear beacon to others. All of us are edified, and our Father is glorified through our efforts.
We can light up a room when we bear testimony of truth. With tears of gratitude, we may move another’s soul. Tears of sorrow, with hearts tethered to God and Christ, may be a brilliant example of goodness and righteousness.
Partaking of the sacrament in a reverent manner offers a fine way to praise and worship Him. And that reminder of following Christ uplifts us as we glorify Him.
We know of the scripture “…by their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.]
Are our fruits not a way of praising God and glorifying Him?
Absolutely. We are taught as much in John 15:8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
Joy becomes a Pattern
Whether we are fourteen or ninety four, we have at our disposal so many ways to show our gratitude, our good works, and our good thoughts. Good thoughts, we know, bring good actions. And so, we may become a living, breathing example of light and truth as we cling to what is right; as we take in the good and toss out the bad; as we go through hard times and watch the ‘less important just fall away.’ It becomes a pattern by which we live.
As we look back on our life pattern, we may be pleased to see how much progress we have made, in little tiny ways here and there. Accepting the gospel, reaching past our problems to grasp the goodness, there is so much to thank God for.
In simple, easy times or in dark, difficult ones, we build the ability to glorify our Father in Heaven. And as we learn to do so, we find much joy!