It's when you're just starting.
As Pastor Brian Houston said, "It's when you're just laying down the foundation."
It's when you cannot yet see the results of our hard work.
It's when you're still under construction.
It's when nothing seems to be working in your life.
It's when everything is messy, chaotic, and uncertain.
It's when you are "dead."
It's when you are broken and defeated.
I want to share with you the story of Jesus when Lazarus was raised:
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. Jesus said to Mary, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” — John 11:32-35, 40-44
Jesus praised God not when Lazarus was already raised from the dead. Jesus praised God even when Lazarus was dead. Praise has the power to bring the dead back to life.
When you're not yet where you want to be, it's the best time to stir up your faith. It's the best time to grow in faith and trust. It's the best time to praise.
It's easy to be faithful when everything is going your way. But, it's incredibly difficult to stay in faith when everything's a mess.
Don't lose the power of your praise. Your praise makes things move in the right direction. More importantly, it makes you move in the right direction, especially when you have already given up on moving forward.
God doesn't need your praise. He has a legion of angels always praising Him. You need to praise God. You need to open yourself to Him. You need to be in His presence. You need to enter His throne room and allow Him to encourage you and to embrace you.
Praise is not so much what happens to God as much as what happens to you.
Keep praising. Remain in faith. And show your faith not just through your words, but also through your actions.
Keep doing the right thing even when it doesn't make sense right now.
Keep doing the right thing even when you cannot see the results.
Keep doing the right even when all you can see are ruins.
Stay in faith and keep moving forward. Eventually, you'll get to where you want to go.
Keep praising along the way.