by:  Cris Corzine-McCloskey

I heard a story about a man who had been going through the trials of Job. Grief, financial loss, you name it, he had it going on. The man’s response was to place two chairs face to face. He sat down in one, pointed to the other, and extended an invitation. He said, “Devil, have a seat. You are going to watch me praise my Lord.” And, as the saying goes, he got his praise on.

As a therapist, I applaud this man for his creative use of coping skills. I also admire his determination not to let his circumstances define him. Science would also give him a thumbs up because Dr. Caroline Leaf has discovered when we worship God, our brains release dopamine and eliminate toxins. In other words, worship gives your brain a day at the spa.

But it is not the science side of me that is affected by this story, it is the believer side of me. Frankly, I want to give this man a high-five and a fist-bump. He one-upped Job. Job never cursed God, but he did sit around in pile of ashes. This man stayed out of the ash heap and worshiped. I admire his faith, and it challenges me. I want to be so unshakable that no matter what this world, or the devil, throws at me, praise becomes my knee-jerk response.

Why? Because in my gut I believe two things: 1. The struggle is real, very real. As a therapist, I see things every day that would make your hair stand on end. This world does horrible things to its inhabitants. Pain, grief, abuse, trauma, rejection. All of it is part of the human struggle, and all of it is very real. 2. The fight is fixed.

No matter what comes at me, no matter how long I’ve laid on the mat with my teeth knocked out, that count going on above my head will never, ever reach 10. There is a God in heaven who loves me, and I belong to Him. Even when I breathe my last, the count still doesn’t reach 10, because I will open up my eyes and see the face of Jesus. At that point, I would really like Him to be giving me a high-five and a fist-bump.

Until that day comes, I desire to live life with my boots on and ready to rumble. I know struggles will come, but they don’t define me. Jesus defines me. As Pastor Steven Furtick says, “It’s what you do with the pain that determines what it becomes.” I want my struggles to prompt worship. Then, I’m giving praise to the One who deserves it, I am giving my brain a day at the spa, AND I am picking up my weapons of warfare.

We don’t find victory in complaining, venting, whimpering, or whining. But when we start getting our praise on, watch out, because we are inviting the Almighty to come to take over. In closing, I want to share with you some lyrics from my new favorite song, Raise a Hallelujah, by John and Melissa Hesler. The first verse goes like this: I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies. I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief. I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody. I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me.

Next time you are in a struggle, I dare you to pull up a couple of chairs, invite the devil to cop a squat, and start singing that song. See if you don’t feel Jesus giving you a high-five and a fist-bump!



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