I arrived home on Saturday from a wonderful vacation to the gulf side of Florida. Clearwater Beach to be exact. It was a refreshing time for me. Extended time with family. Catching up time with best friends. And time to reflect over the past winter. It was good.
Like me, you may have noticed how gloriously long the daylight is this time of year. I love it. It seemed to me that as we sat at the beach, the days were even longer. We watched the sun dip below the horizon almost every night. It appeared to melt into the water, the horizon line became the place where water met heat. It almost looked as if lava poured out over the seas. Blazing, beautiful, bold. I can hardly find the right words to describe this sight. But what came over the next 45 minutes was also truly beautiful.
Nightfall. It began behind our backs as we viewed the Gulf. It seemed as if the gray shadows began to creep up quietly. Inching ever closer until finally the darkness itself dropped completely into the sea. And then it happened. Little bits of twinkling lights appeared. First one. Then another. Until finally, when darkness settled in, the sky lit up. Every inch of the night sky was completely covered by both large and small lights. Stars existing so far in distance that this feeble mind of mine can't even fathom. The funny thing is the stars were there all day long. Only in the brilliant Florida sunshine I never saw them. It was not until the deep blackness of night settled in did they appear.
It occured to me as I sat viewing this amazing site, that God too reveals some attributes of Himself only when we are in the dark places. His character never changes but parts of Himself are disclosed only during the night-time periods of our lives. It makes me thankful, in a different way, for those difficult seasons. The seasons that make us wonder why we are asked to praise "at all times." I've been there. You probably have too. Let's be encouraged by what David wrote during one of his very difficult times in
Psalms 34:1-6"I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles."
What a reason to praise! That when this "poor" girl "called," " the LORD heard" her!
Praise HIM...at all times!