“Happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God… The Lord lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads. The Lord loves the righteous…Praise the Lord!” – Psalm 146:5, 8, 10

There are many different kinds of “oppression.” The challenges I deal with are probably different than what you deal with, but what we can share is in the verse above: Happy are those who have God as their helper. We could all use a hand every now and then right? Because regardless of what our particular issues, there are times we all feel “bent beneath our load,” as the Scripture says.

The theme for the week has included an emphasis on forgiveness. Because when we do not forgive, the burden is on us just as much – or possibly more than – it is on the one who has “wronged” us (however real or imagined that wrong may be).

Sometimes the one we are holding something against is actually God, because we feel God has let us down somehow, or not reached our expectations, or answered our prayers the way we hoped. I don’t think anyone ever got very far by holding a grudge against God, though sadly, plenty of people try.

For me, it has been a crazy week, and one where I feel times of “I just can’t win.” It seems like I have been coming across a lot of stories lately about people in hard times. One of the ones that touched me perhaps the most is an interview with the lead singer of Casting Crowns, who recently faced surgery for a mass on his kidney. You can listen to the interview if you want, and I also wanted to write out the words for one of their songs, which is on our playlist for this week, called “Praise You In This Storm.

Whatever the challenges you face this week, remember, you are not alone. Whatever is going on, take a moment and praise God. When you need to forgive, Praise God. When you need to heal, Praise God. When you feel oppressed, Praise God. The power and presence of God meets us when we turn to Him. He never promised life would be easy, but He did promise to be with us in the midst, whether it’s a storm, a fog, or a dreary drizzle that isn’t so bad… except that it never seems to end. “For You, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for You.” (Psalm 9:10)

  • I was sure by now, God You would have reached down
  • And wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day
  • But once again I say “Amen” and it’s still raining
  • But as the thunder rolls
  • I barely hear You whisper through the rain “I am with you”
  • And as Your mercy falls, I’ll raise my hands and 
  • praise the God who gives and takes away
  • 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 every tear I’ve cried
  • You hold in Your hand
  • You never left my side
  • And though my heart is torn
  • I’ll praise you in this storm
  • I remember when I stumbled in the wind 
  • You heard my cry, You raised me up again
  • My strength is almost gone
  • How can I carry on
  • If I can’t find You
  • But as the thunder rolls…
  • And I’ll praise You in this storm… 
  • I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from
  • My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth…