“11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:11-15 NIV
I recently read the blog of someone I know, a 29 year old mother with a 5 month old son and inflammatory breast cancer. It was amazing to read wonderfully uplifting and positive words from someone who has every reason to be angry with God. She continues to keep her eyes on Jesus and to witness to His love and grace. Such an inspiration.
Sometimes worship and praise comes easily. The high points of our lives: the birth of our children, a promotion at work, our wedding day or just when things are going swimmingly well. It is easy to stand and sing, “How great is our God” at those times. At other times, however, that same praise is a sacrifice. It comes at a price. It doesn’t even have to be song, just professing His name in times of trial or even persecution, can be hard enough.
Personally, I experienced this after my miscarriage. I arrived in the UK only to discover at 13 weeks pregnant that my baby had died at about 7 weeks. I was devastated. A week and a half later, I was standing in church singing praises to our good God. It wasn’t easy and my heart continued to break. It was a sacrifice, but it was powerful. I could feel something shift and, of course, I was comforted.
I cannot imagine the road my friend has to walk on, and I know many people have incredibly difficult journeys. Some are short lived, some last a lifetime. In those times, if we can continue to openly profess His name and offer a sacrifice of praise, He will meet us we we are. We will be comforted. Of course, the amazing thing is that if we can’t do it, He will still meet us where we are. We will still be comforted, because His grace and love exceeds anything we can think or imagine.
So why should we offer a sacrifice of praise? Because Jesus went outside the city walls. He suffered humiliation, disgrace, pain and death. All for us. I think if we could actually continually get our minds around that one thought… praise wouldn’t be such a sacrifice after all.