I still remember the wonderful relief experienced when, as a child, I had a bad cold and Vicks Vapo-Rub was rubbed onto my chest. I remember how the strong aroma of the menthol seemed to flood my plugged sinuses and filled my lungs to provide almost instant relief. Looking back, I can see how those instances were a balm that not only soothed my symptoms but communicated love and caring to me in an otherwise stress-filled home. I cherish those memories.
In my Christian walk I have found that giving thanks to God for His love and mercy when in difficulty, helps clear my senses like a spiritual balm. I know personally how overwhelming the darkness of depression and anxiety can be; I also know that offering praises large and small to God can serve to lighten my perceptions and fill me with a quiet balm of hope and peace even when nothing else has changed.
How praise works as a balm to a wounded soul remains a mystery to me; what I do know that God is consistently faithful to meet us at our point of need when we seek Him out.
Journey Notes Praise Journaling was developed to help Clients discover this spiritual balm for themselves. For twenty years, I have witnessed God’s faithfulness in turning simple praises into a balm that penetrates deeply into the hearts of all who seek Him. It is nothing short of a miracle . . . but it is not a “quick fix”. To offer up praises to God as a formula to get what we want, rather than in a spirit of humility and in faith is to court disappointment because of our impure motives. Even so, God will remain faithful as the wisdom Psalm 73 attests:When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You. ~~~~~~~~ Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Verses 21-26)
How does one move from impure motives to a heart strengthened by the mysterious balm of praise?
- It begins with a personal decision to trust in God more and ourselves less.
- Next, we surrender the bitterness and pain that would otherwise consume us to Him.
- Finally, we give thanks to Him for our freedom, for loving us even when we fail Him:
“Thank You God for loving me . . . for saving me from myself through the bloody and painful sacrifice of your Son. Help me Lord to forgive as I have been forgiven . . . that I may honor you with by singing Your praises. Thank You Lord for being the strength of my heart and my portion forever . . . “
Do you feel your senses beginning to clear as you breathe in the very breath of heaven? Give thanks that when God works it is not a “quick fix” but has eternal consequences . . . PRAISE HIM!
All to His Glory!
thanks, Kathy. Giving thanks certainly is a balm to my soul as well. I love the Psalm you’ve quoted. Thanks for reminding me of it today! Love you…
I love you too Liz!
You’re so right, Kathie. I recently told my wife daughter that I’ve come to believe that most of our prayer time should be spent in praise and thanksgiving.
There was a time in my life when I was as close to being in total despair as I have ever been. I was driving down the road when I heard Fernando Ortega singing on the radio, “And when from death I’m free I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on . . . and when from death I’m free I’ll sing on . . . .” It was then, as I sobbed and sang as loud as I could, that I gained a deeper appreciation for the value of offering praise and thanksgiving to God. When applied in humility and in faith, we are freed from being bound by the cares of this very temporary world. There was no turning back after that.