Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

“The crowd joined in an attack against them [Paul and Silas], and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he…threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Now about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them…”         
Acts 16: 22-25 (NASB)

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121: 1-2 (ESV)

We’ve been there before. Perhaps we’re there now. Or we may be there in the future.

Anxious and uncertain about what’s around the corner. 

Broken by tragedy.  Weighed down by the needs of others heavy on our heart. Despairing as you face an uncertain financial future.  

Misunderstood. Disappointed as we fall short again of expectations—ours and others. Overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness—personally and in the world around you.  

Too tired or weak to even care about or try to take another step. 

No more. Can’t do it.

No light in the darkness around you, or at the end of the tunnel stretching out before you.   

In the passage from Acts, the Apostle Paul and Silas, who was selected to accompany Paul, had been beaten and then jailed for sharing Christ. 

Their response? A pity party of despair, anxiety, hopelessness while they gave in and gave up?  Not quite.

Instead, they prayed and sang hymns of praise to God.

Twenty years ago, Richard Smallwood was where we’ve all been. Feeling helpless, anxious and despairing. Maybe feeling beaten and jailed like Paul and Silas experienced—

But out of his season of hopelessness, the words of David in the 121st Psalm assuring David of the ever-present help from God, reminded Richard Smallwood to lift his eyes and heart to God his Helper, and the anthem “Total Praise” then rose from his heart. 

The song begins with these words—

“Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills,
Knowing my help is coming from You.
Your peace You give me in time of the storm.
You are the source of my strength,
You are the strength of my life.
I lift my hands in total praise to you.”

We’ve been there. We may be there again. Maybe we’re there now.

In those moments, here’s what we need to remember—God’s there too. Always has been. Always will be. 

In those seasons of helplessness and hopelessness—go there.

Lift your eyes to the hills.

Lift your hands in total praise to God.

He will be there—your Helper, your God.

In His Name–Scott

Enjoy the powerful anthem “Total Praise” performed in a powerful moment by the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir and orchestra, during their visit to the notorious Louisiana Correctional Institution in Angola, Louisiana.