*Over the past three to four years, there has perhaps been no other passage of scripture that has helped refine my perspective of God than that of Ecclesiastes 7:13.
“Consider the work of God; for who can make straight what He has made crooked?”
Now I have to admit, when I first read that passage, I was slightly confused. I thought for certain that I had read it wrong, or that King Solomon, the man responsible for writing the book Ecclesiastes, had made some kind of mistake.
Surely he meant to write ‘who can make crooked what He (God) has made straight?’ What kind of all-knowing, all-powerful God would decide to make something crooked? As I sat there puzzled, I decided to continue on and read the next verse.
“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has APPOINTED the one as well as the other, so that man can find nothing that will come after him.” – Ecclesiastes 7:14v.
Let’s face it; this is not exactly the kind of scripture you and I tend to post on our refrigerator door or rush to a nearby Christian bookstore to find a bumper sticker of.
Now more than ever before, there is an alarming number of Christians who insist on believing that the sole purpose of God is to fulfill our purposes, and that His sole desire is to fulfill our desires. After years of being presented with a Gospel that is sadly incomplete, many have begun to question whether the God they grew up believing in is really real.
For those of you reading this devotional today that may be currently navigating through a season of doubt in your life, I want you to know that we serve a God who not only designs STRAIGHT paths for our lives, but CROOKED ones as well.
The sooner you and I embrace the fact both PROSPERITY and ADVERSITY are a sign of God’s workmanship, the sooner we can use both as a catalyst to draw closer to Him.
One of the best ways we can do just that is to renew our commitment to PRAISE. While we have done a great job limiting its role to just songs of adoration we sing in church, I discovered not long ago that PRAISE is what we have the ability to create…
…when we decide to always VENT UP.
Our natural tendency as human beings when things do not go our way is to either VENT OUT to our family and closest friends for comfort, or to VENT DOWN to those we have influence over, in order to use our pain as a way of rallying others less mature on our side. A very bad decision I might add.
When life seems unbearable, you and I have to make a commitment to VENT UP. When we consistently take our concerns (and complaints) to God, something unique occurs.
Our requests for what WE WANT are exchanged for who HE IS.
When we begin to vent up to God concerning a new job…
…it is not long before we find ourselves praising Him for the job we have.
When we vent up to God concerning more healthy relationships…
…it is not long before we begin praising Him for the ones He has helped us escape from.
Praise has a way of reconnecting our hearts with what is important, giving us the confidence to still look ahead to a brighter tomorrow no matter how difficult the day may be. It is my prayer that we all will fully understand this one simple truth; a truth I had to painfully encounter nearly three years ago:
Here it is: TRAGEDY and WORSHIP are inseparable.
At our lowest of moments, God is still ever present. He is ever faithful. To know Him, is to worship Him. A lesson I am grateful to learn each morning through the power of praise.
© Milan Ford
“Nothing will work unless you do.” ~Maya Angelou
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