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Women Who Win

 

Problems and Praise

 

Praise flows profusely from our praying lips when prosperity dwells with us and promises are fulfilled. What if poverty, persecution, pain, peril, prejudice, punishment and plague overtake us and leave us prostrate? That is the time when we like David should command our souls, “ Bless the Lord, O my soul.” When our soul is sunk and spirit low, praise should pour out of our hearts to God for what He is; because that is the remedy for a broken spirit. Praise works miracles for a perturbed person. Especially we women who always seem to be possessed with a spirit of heaviness, dwelling on all our petty problems should remember the Shulamite who was a woman of like passions as we are, yet learned the secret of praise amidst her problems.

Remember the Shulamite. She was filled with a colour complex because of her dark skin. May be she was looked down upon, which imprisoned her to her home. But the omega of her tears was soon to come. A prince passing by was attracted by her and soon he was in love with her, head over heels. Will she evermore remember her problems? She got over her colour complex and developed a self-confidence because he saw her lovely. When the prince revealed his love for her, her agony was changed to adoration. She saw herself as the prince saw her and confessed, “I am dark, but lovely” (S.S. 1:5).

It may be that you face a similar problem. You may be physically unattractive or handicapped. You may have few friends. Your defect may drive you desperate. Your status may not be as high as some. Your income may not even provide you three meals a day or decent dresses. You may live below the average income group. The faces of your debtors may weigh you down. You may not be talented. But think of the King who loves you. The earth with all its fullness belongs to Him. Praise the Lord for your bright future! Lift up your eyes and see the King before you, who sees you as one without any spot. He has clothed you with white linen, the righteousness of Christ, and see you as a saint and not just a forgiven sinner. Take your eyes off your old man and start praising Him for what He is and for what you are because of Calvary!

Remember the Shulamite. She had many family problems. Her own kith and kin were angry with her. She was ruled by everyone in the family. Her work was menial. Whether it was because she was the junior most or her handicap, we don’t know. But we know for sure that she was everybody’s subordinate and was robbed of her rightful rights. She bewails her fate thus, “My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I had to neglect” (S.S. 1:6). But the hatred of her family and the loneliness of her life became forgotten facts because she was going to enjoy the  companionship of her Beloved forever. She cared no more for her menial work because she would be princess of the royal estate. The thought of the comforts of her palatial future home eased her present condition.

Your home situation may be similar to this. You may be going through deep family problems. You may feel lonely among the family because you are not one among them. You may be ordered by everyone and consequently your own work may suffer. You may be friendless to share your frustrations. The blow of a broken relationship may give you the blues. Your bosom friends have lifted up their heels on you. Criticisms have left you crippled. You are sobbing “Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet I said to myself, ‘This is my sickness, and I must endure it.’ My tent is destroyed; all its ropes are snapped. My children are gone from me and are no more; no one is left now to pitch my tent or to set up my shelter” (Jer 10:19,20). You are sitting under the juniper tree and weeping for death. Beloved, behold the apple tree, it is not too far! Arise, come and sit down under its shadow with great delight, and eat its fruit! (S.S.  2:3). Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. This is the praising experience in the pit of problem. Think of the companionship of Christ, the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. Praise Him and be released. Put away all weary thoughts, pick yourself up and praise the Lord for His closeness through the Holy Spirit.

Remember the Shulamite. She went through periods of darkness. In a moment’s hesitation she lost whom she was longing for. She heard Him knock and heard Him call. She even saw Him through the door. But an inadvertent delay had driven Him. What now? She was willing to defile her washed feet in wandering, if ony she could find her beloved. But He was not to be found. She was savagely beaten up and suffered physical wounds. Can her sorow know any bounds? But see her spirit! When the daughters of Jerusalem pitied her she did not blabber her bodily aches and pains but beamed with beatific description of her Beloved! She was lost in love (S.S. 5:2-6). Before long, She found Him whom her soul loved (6:2). Praise brings you from abstract prayer to the closeness of His presence.

May be some physical ailment has closd your lips tight for praise. How you earnestly look for sympathisers! At a word of courtesy about your health a series of ills gushes out from your lips. Remember the Shulamite who all engrossed in love was blind to all her bruises but blurted out the beauty of her King at the first opportunity. Praise the Lord, for He is your Healer who sends His word and heals you!

Are you going through a time of spiritual darkness? Are you unwilling to accept His “Wait” or “No” answer but belligerent for an immediate “Yes” sanction? Are you weary of a wilderness experience? Are you banging your head over a burden? Divert your eyes from all circumstances and situations and focus them on the face of your beloved. Forget your wounds and aches. Whoever comes and asks you start describing your beloved. Let them wonder how with all your problems you are still happy, bubbling and praising. Let them be stunned at your description of your beloved that they may exclaim. “We will also seek Him with you.”

Many are the times when you have disproved to your friends the very existence of a living God by allowing your problems to madden you. But here is a chance to turn your problems for good, to tell the world that there is One because of whom praise gushes out of problems. Even in times of darkness when His presence itself is abstract let your lips be speaking of His beauty that the world may ask, “What is your beloved more than another beloved?”

The  one who was so dark and unattractive is now “fairest among women.” What is the secret? She was brooding, now she is beaming; she was downcast, now she is dancing; she was complaining, now she is canvassing; she was pathetic, now she is pulsating; she was full of selfpity, now she is full of praises for her Friend. That is the secret. “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heart ache crushes the spirit” (Prov 15:13). “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov 17:22). Note the relationship of your mind and body.

Here lies the secret of your beauty, health and joy. Praise! Do not waste your time and energy blaming God and others for your circumstances. Turn them for good. Start praising. Any amount of counseling or comforting may seem like offering vinegar to a man hanging on the cross. But praise is your medicine; and you will see it working wonders in your body, soul and spirit. Let your enemies be ashamed. Let the devil blush. Only one thing matters — The King is in love with you. You are His and He is yours. What else matters? The key to joy lies in your palm. Open the chambers of the King and run behind the Shulamite. Be glad and rejoice in Him. Remember His love more than wine (S.S. 1:4).

When you kneel down to worship the Lord forget your petitions and concentrate on giving to Him. He needs no money, nor help nor anything within your means but adoration. Just keep speaking high of Him, exalting Him and describing His attributes. Worship honours God and brings down His blessings upon us.

Catch the spirit of the Shulamite and start worshipping Him with heart and soul. Think of Christ’s righteousness on you and praise Him (S.S. 1:5). Forget your home situation and praise Him for the home He is preparing for you (1:17). Recall all things bright and praise Him (2:1-4). Recollect the moments  when He filled you with His presence and praise Him (2:9). See the Lamb with His crown on His marriage  day and praise Him (3:11). He is your elder Brother to bear all your burdens, praise Him (5:1). Think of the many times when His voice came soft and clear to wake you out of slumber, and the times when it guided you in the straight paths and praise Him (5:2). We are the seal on His heart. Nothing can quench our love for Him. Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him for His love!


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com

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