God, with His great sense of humor, gave me an interesting analogy on a concept of praise that I believe He wants to encourage us to have a deeper understanding in.
A few days ago, as I was peeling potatoes to have with our dinner I began to remember part of a novel I read when I was a teenager, Come Spring, by Ben Ames Williams. Set in Maine during the Revolutionary War, it is based upon a family that settled in the wilderness there.
The part I recalled took place during the winter when food was scarce. One of the characters took potatoes he was saving for planting in the spring, and began to cut them up. He left a portion of the potato for planting, but used the rest for food so they could survive the winter. From what I remember of the story he did not know if what was left of the potato for planting would actually grow the normal crop, but he knew something needed to be done so they could survive right then.
There I am in my kitchen, holding a potato, recalling this story, and I am impressed by the Lord that this is how we need to praise Him.
Picture a spiritual winter season…spring may or may not be around the corner…you are wondering how you are going to survive…you have no idea how you can give any more than you have already given…you are fearful…you can barely breathe…yet…you begin to reach out for hope.
Hope, the size of a tiny mustard seed, in the form of praise for our great God, is all that you have left. You know spring will come. You know you are going to have breakthrough. You know God has the fulfillment of His promise to you. It is just around the corner, but it’s not here yet. You can’t feel it. You can’t taste it. So what do you do then?
You begin to praise Him for what is coming as though it’s already here. Praise is our sustaining resource that we need to utilize now, and not postpone it for when we think it will be easier to praise. The potatoes were their resource to grow a future supply, but were also a needed resource at that moment in time. In hope the settlers did something without knowing what the future crop would yield.
Quite honestly, we don’t know how everything will work together for good. We don’t know when our circumstances will change. We don’t know what our supply will look like when our spring season comes, but we reach out spiritually to a place of praise that is based upon our hope of what is to come.
In researching the history of potatoes I came across an article that indicated the potato was often the only crop left in a time of war. The potato crop was hidden from the enemy soldiers because it was beneath the ground. This is what sown seeds of our praise are like. No one may see the fruit quite yet, but it’s there and growing, hidden from the enemy, and waiting for the proper time to be harvested.
Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Romans 4:16-18