I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.
Psalm 86:12 NIV
“Hi, Mrs. C! Are you busy? I want to talk to you because I’m thinking about becoming a teacher.”
I looked up from my overloaded lab desk to see a former student standing hesitantly in the classroom doorway. She was considering switching her graduate school major from veterinary science to secondary education, and she wanted my input. As we discussed at length the events that prompted this change, one thing became clear to me: This young woman had a teacher’s heart. Through tutoring fellow underclassmen, she had discovered the deep satisfaction of facilitating the learning of struggling students. She had discovered her passion, and was becoming wholehearted about teaching.
Wholeheartedness is how King David described his praise of the Lord in Psalm 86:12: “I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart.” David praised God from a place of meaningful satisfaction. He had cultivated a relationship with God that resonated in his soul. David recognized the overwhelming love which had rescued him from circumstances so dire they felt like death. This anointed king of Israel had been in dark, suffocating stress, and at the bottom of his emotional abyss he found the loving God waiting to deliver him. The result was overflowing, joyous, exuberant praise.
The last verse of the carol O Holy Night says “Let all within us praise His holy name.” The broad scope of our human experiences, the “all within us,” can be brought to the Lord as we praise Him this Advent season. Like David, we understand the love of God in a more powerful way when we acknowledge His presence in the dark times and in the seasons of contentment. By remembering God’s constant love for us, our prayers become filled with sincere, soul-filling, wholehearted praise.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being near us in our struggles and our triumphs. We praise you and love you for you faithfulness to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.