Canal Street Church
I Will Praise - Jeannette Thompson
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
On Monday, March 23 (seems like months ago!), the news was grim: the governor announced stay-at-home orders, and Louisiana’s COVID-19 death count surpassed that of California, with most of our state’s cases and deaths occurring here in New Orleans. Reading this news after supper, I went to bed with dire thoughts which weren’t lessened with prayer.
I woke up at 2 a.m. and was immediately wide awake with my whirling thoughts. Knowing that I’d have trouble getting back to sleep quickly and not wanting to bother my husband Sam, I took my pillow and bedtime reading and moved to the guest room. My mind quickly flooded with thoughts of things I should get done that day. The top priority, it seemed to me, was to get our “in case of death” paperwork up-to-date. But somehow I remembered to stop and ask God to lead in setting my priorities for the day, as I’ve tried to do this year for daily, weekly, and monthly planning. My words to God were blunt and reflective of my rather fatalistic thoughts and emotions: “God, show me how to prepare today for my death”. I sat numbly for just a few seconds, and then heard a voice inside me which I believe was God’s inner prompting: “Prepare today for your living”! Suddenly very wide-awake, I decided (definitely through God’s wisdom) that I would sit down and read the new day’s lectionary readings, instead of starting on the to-do list (and definitely instead of reading the Dorothy Sayers mystery or enjoying my daily luxury of the day’s NYT crossword puzzle).
The first Scripture reading was Psalm 146. I had to read only the first 2 verses before God’s love and wisdom overwhelmed me:
“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, o my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Ps.146:1-2).
Only our all-loving and all-wise God could speak personally to the torrent of my anxious thoughts! Because He is the one true God, He could and did point me to the one thing that would let me confront the situation with reality and hope – the reminder that He is Lord God and is worthy of all praise and honor. In praising Him, I was able to focus my heart and mind on His faithfulness, both in the lives displayed throughout the Bible and in my life. Our Lord reigns forever, for all generations. Those generations include me … us.
Okay, so I could die today or tomorrow or within the next 10 days (including getting hit by a car when I go out for a bike ride). But may I meanwhile praise my Lord and Savior - and what a delight to be able to do this in song!!
Jeannette Thompson is a retired librarian who loves to bike, listen to classical choral music, read, and pull weeds. She and Sam were married in this church 34 years ago. Their two sons introduced them just last week to online group gaming (“Psych!”)