Wednesdays with Jillene: Blessed Be Your Name

Confession moment: I’ve been delaying writing this post for a while.

More than just delaying in writing a post for today (though that is true too), I’ve been avoiding this topic. From the moment it came to mind when I quickly wrote it on my blog post idea list and every week since I’ve know this was something that needed saying… I just wasn’t sure I was ready to say it.

First, to set the scene, I need to take you back to around 2002/2003. At this point in my life I had just started taking long car trips across the state for camping meetings. Thirteen years later and MANY trips later it seems silly, but at the time facing a 3+ hour car trip by myself seemed daunting. Enter music as my companion. Before mp3 players and my husband making me play lists he’d often choose cds for me to listen to along the way.

I remember when I heard this song for the first time because hearing the lyrics and hitting the back button repeatedly had me crying. (Don’t worry no car crash story here).

The song hit me right in the gut.

Facing the reality of the goodness and blessing of God in the good times and the tough times was hard yet beautiful. And yes, I was singing my heart out driving down the thruway. This song spoke deeply to the broken places in my heart and torn places in my spirit.

Little did I know how the years would bring even more blessings of “plentiful” moments, times of “abundance.” Nor could I have imagined the depths of the “deserts” and “wilderness” moments, too. But that day driving down the road, tears streaming down my face I felt the weight and truth of the lyrics:

Every blessing You pour out

I’ll turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord

Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name

When the sun’s shining down on me

When the world’s ‘all as it should be’

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name

On the road marked with suffering

Though there’s pain in the offering

Blessed be Your name

Those words… they still get me.

Seeing the good times as blessing, giving thanks and praising God in those is one thing.

But every blessing… every blessing…  even though there’s pain in the offering?

Seeing the tough, the suffering, the barrenness, the darkness as blessing… giving thanks and praising God at those times? Well that sure is another.

And yet, what I knew then and what I’ve tried to cling to as the years have passed is the truth found in this key part:

my heart will choose to say

Not because I was forced to.

Not just saying it when other people are watching.

Not as a reflexive utterance.

A choice of the heart to guide the mind and lead action.

It isn’t easy and I’ve definitely not always been successful. But as God has continued to work on my heart and strengthen my spirit in the tough times and in the good, I have caught (even just a little glimpse) of how God is working all things to good even the hard.

It’s almost like a muscle being strained as someone who exercises pushes their body beyond what is easy or comfortable. Just when they feel the ache, the weakness then they are at the perfect place to grow stronger. So too does our character have a chance to grow in the trying times.

In an effort to help my heart make the right choice these have been some of the scriptures that have centered me through the difficult.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Romans 5:3-5 “ Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Psalm 9:9-10 “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

And, perhaps, what is more evident in my own life is the way I have watched community grow in the middle of pain, loss, and suffering. Not always, I do recognize that, but as people choose to draw close to one another and support each other in the hard they bond in ways they never could have in the good.

It is beautifully crazy really. But God works that way sometimes and we are blessed for it.

How can I pray for the good and the tough times you are facing? How has God been at work in your life as you choose to praise and bless His name? What strengthens, encourages, and blesses you when the hard presses in on you?

~Jillene

2 thoughts on “Wednesdays with Jillene: Blessed Be Your Name

  1. Pingback: Wednesdays with Jillene: heat and drought | campvick

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