Admittedly, this title is a bit off-putting.
We are taught from a young age to avoid strange places. Most of us have even learned over the years how to tell if a location that’s usually OK has become strange or creepy. News stories are full of people who met with unfortunate events because they were in strange places.
Instinctively, our response is to run away. Strange places make us feel unsure, awkward, and frightened.
Sometimes the place itself is not the problem, but the people who are there. None of us likes to be surrounded by unfamiliar faces at a dinner party. Being new to a job or to a department at work is not always a pleasant feeling, and neither is having to give a presentation before an audience full of people whose faces are blank or unfriendly. All of these circumstances can make us feel out of place.
The children of Israel experienced this very trouble. They had been carried away as captives into the nation of Babylon. They found themselves surrounded by strange people, a strange language, and even strange gods. The food was different, and the Israelites looked weird because their clothes were so different than the latest Babylonian fashions.
In bewilderment they wailed, “How can we sing the Lord’s songs in a strange land?” Everyone knew about the beautiful music the Israelites sang. The fame of their talent had reached the people of Babylon, and they were now requesting a concert from the Jews.
Imagine trying to sing your favorite praise song in a temple dedicated to idols while the worshippers surround you performing their rituals and mocking your God! That is not a pleasant scenario to think about at all. But, guess what?
Not only were the Babylonians requesting a song from the Israelites, so was their God. Why?
Because victory belongs to those who learn to sing the Lord’s song in a strange place!
In Psalm 137, after the children of Israel finished complaining about being captives in a foreign land, they remembered their holy obligation and privilege to bless the Lord at all times. Someone shouted, “Hey! If I forget God now, it would be worse than losing the use of my right hand.” So they took their harps down from the trees and started a praise and worship service--right in the middle of a country that was both foreign and hostile to them. Before too long, their captivity was over and they were able to return home.
The solution they found centuries ago is the same one that will work for us today. What “strange place” are you facing?
Being a new parent?
Feeling under-qualified for an assignment on your job?
Having to readjust your lifestyle because of a decrease in income?
Living in a new city?
Starting school again after many years?
Whatever you are facing, victory is yours if you silence your emotions and begin to praise God right where you are.
Paul and Silas are two more timeless examples of the power of worship to bring total victory in strange and painful surroundings (Acts 16). Not even chains or prison guards could prevent them from receiving an earth-shaking victory that blessed many others around them as well.
So today, don’t wait to feel better.
Don’t wait for your environment to change.
Don’t wait for the pressure to go away.
Right now, in your awkward, uncomfortable, and strange situation--
Praise the Lord with all your being, and lay hold of your complete victory!
A special thatnks to Candace Garret Daly of Seed, Fruit and Roots Blog for this timely piece! May you choose praise no matter what siutation you find yourself in today!
Candace Garrett Daly grew up in Greenville, NC and discovered a love of writing at a young age. After being born again as a teenager she began to write Bible studies and pamphlets about Jesus to share with friends and classmates. She now resides in the metro Atlanta area where she continues to write books and articles to encourage Believers to remain steadfast in love and devotion to Jesus. Candace's desire is to see God's Word become available, understood, and triumphantly lived all around the world. To read more of her writings, you may visit her blog www.SeedFruitAndRoots.com. You may also purchase her book by the same title at Amazon.com.